Review: ‘Perfect Wedding’ at the Washington County Playhouse Dinner Theater and Children’s Theater

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Perfect Wedding at the Washington County Playhouse Dinner Theater and Children’s Theater is a laugh-out-loud riot. Written by Robin Hawdon and directed by Shawn R. Martin, Perfect Wedding is the story of one wedding day gone hysterically astray. When Bill, the groom, wakes up on his wedding morning lying next to a woman who is definitely not his bride-to-be, and Bill has no memory of meeting her the previous night, complications arise. Now Bill and Tom, Bill’s best man, have to quickly come up with some solutions and even more explanations to maintain Bill’s perfect wedding before the bride, the bride’s mother and all the hotel staff get involved!

The Cast of 'Perfect Wedding.' Photo by Adam Blackstock,
The Cast of ‘Perfect Wedding.’ Photo by Adam Blackstock.

Rennes Carbaugh is a delightfully straightforward and solidly direct as Tom the Best Man. He and Matt Crawford (Bill) play exceptionally well off of each other, and their hilariously chaotic antics are reminiscent of a Bing Crosby and Bob Hope buddy comedies. Carbaugh nearly stopped the show with a rapid-fire monologue recounting the events of the day in Act II.

Anne Hunt makes a very commanding and in-charge bride, Rachel. Hunt is wonderful as the girl you would love to hate, with her Type A personality, bossy manner, and spoiled demeanor as the bride who is losing it when her wedding day starts to go to hell.

As Rachel’s mother, the mother of the bride, Jules Happy Rone is wonderfully over-dramatic as Daphne. Between interrupting at the most inopportune moments or warbling “Here Comes the Bride” repeatedly, Rone makes the character very loveable and delightfully over-the-top.

Shannen Banzhoff is very funny and sweet as Judy, the girl Bill wakes up with on the wedding morning and adding to the chaos, has an important secret. Her sincerity is very refreshing among the over-the-top characters and she has heartfelt scenes with Carbaugh and Crawford in Act II.

Kaitlyn Marie Lamkin is outstanding as Julie, a maid at the hotel who unwillingly gets roped into the chaotic wedding day. Her sassy one-liners and attitude, along with an adorable character voice and some fantastic “side-eye,” made Lamkin an instant favorite with the audience.

Finally, Matthew Crawford manages the impressive feat of both carrying the show while at the same time, stealing it. He displays a sense of comedic timing and is a master of hilarious facial expressions. As the groom, Bill, who wakes up on his wedding morning next to another woman, Crawford has the character the audience would be most likely to turn on, and yet nothing could be further from the truth; he has the audience eating out of the palm of his hand from the first moments of the show and displays a natural ease and charisma onstage both in the frantic hilarious scenes and poignant heartfelt moments.

A common problem with many farces is the pace of the action (or lack thereof), but Perfect Wedding exceeds expectations. The frantic pace never slows down from the first moments, and there is never a discernible break in the action. Martin leads an excellent cast of actors through a frantically energetic comedy which constantly builds and builds upon the action and hilarity.

Rennes Carbaugh and Matthew Crawford. Photo by Adam Blackstock.
Rennes Carbaugh and Matthew Crawford. Photo by Adam Blackstock.

The set, designed by Jim and Sue Eckel, is a single set unit designed like an upscale New York country hotel room, with subdued colors and simple furnishings and decorations. Costumes, designed by Barbie Gross and Jackie Rebok,, are formal modern day outfits in light, bright colors, expected for an upscale wedding day. Lighting by Travis Fouche is also a simple scale design to leave the focus on the frantic action.

For a frantic farce with much heart and lots of laughs, be sure to attend Perfect Wedding at the Washington County Playhouse Dinner Theater and Children’s Theater.

Running Time: One hour and 50 minutes, with a 20-minute intermission.

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Perfect Wedding plays through June 25, 2016 at the Washington County Playhouse Dinner Theater and Children’s Theater – 44 North Potomac Street, in Hagerstown, MD. For tickets, call the box office at (301) 739-7469, or purchase them online.

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