On Saturday I attended the final performance of The Wedding Singer, which sold out for all three nights, and it was a showcase of incredible talent, production, and creativity. The Wedding Singer was staged by Oxford Brookes oldest running society, The Fortune Players, who are a musical drama society. Directed by Sandy Jones, with co-director Ciara T. Machon, this was a musical by an amateur dramatics society that felt both professional and fun, with a hilarious self-awareness of any ridiculous and corny story elements (see one of the musicals songs, ‘Come Out of the Dumpster’, a piss-take of the genre's staple romantic numbers). The comedy from both the actors and the story helped to elevate the entire musical, everything is better when it's funny.
The characters seemed extremely well cast, with a high-calibre of talented singers, dancers, and actors all involved on stage. The directors had allowed for some creative freedom by letting actors ad-lib on stage, which gave them all an opportunity to have fun with the role, and provided some hilarious unplanned moments. The dances and choreography were well synchronised and full of energy, the actors had wonderful comedic timing, and the entire ensemble’s vocals were strong.
The lighting for this show was similar to live music gigs, with a mass of colours and effects, which was practical and looked wicked. The functionality of the set was also utilised quite effectively, with stairs and podiums allowing for more varied staging; the lighting rig that doubled up as a bar looked class. It’s commendable that the production team are creative enough to utilise the stage they were given, as there is limited space to work in, even with the extra staging added for The Wedding Singer. This is Oxford Brookes University’s largest venue for any creative arts performances, which is a shame as this is a talented and dedicated society which could further thrive in a better performance space, along with other creative arts societies.
The music for the show was of course 80s style, Steph Masucci did a grand job as musical director with a band who were on point. The musicians were expanded from previous years with a horn section, and there was some really cool use of Keytar from Sam Swinnerton (the bassist was also my TLG partner in crime, Izzy Fitzsimmons). Every aspect of The Wedding Singer was superb and it never felt like an amateur production, there was also a great after show party hosted by Lion & Crown, which was delightfully blurry. I loved all of this performance, and I’m already looking forward to returning to Oxford again next year to see what The Fortune Players have in store.
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