Friday, 11 October 2019

THEATRE REVIEW: Achy Breaky Bride - The Epstein Theatre, Liverpool

Sylvie Gatrill directed Achy Breaky Bride for Regal Productions at Liverpool's Epstein Theatre with a great passion for comedy as this show is littered with so many funny incidents and one-liners. Her direction was wonderfully executed with flair and precision. Emma Culshaw and David Paul, both wrote Achy Breaky Bride. The script for the show was hilarious, the dialogue just flowed incredibky well amongst the comedy and drama in the show. The one-liners just kept coming one and the other. There was laughter from the audience throughout the night.

Featuring a star-studded cast mainly from Liverpool, which included Radio City’s Leanne Campbell, Brookside’s Philip Olivier, Royal Court favourite Lindzi Germain, from The X Factor, David Heath, plus Olivia Sloan, Adam Curtis, Jenna Sian O’Hara and Emma Vaudrey who completed the line up for the show. The acting was brilliant, especially the comedy timing, when needed for certain lines of dialogue, which was delivered with ease and flair. The chemistry and dynamics of Campbell and Olivier were clearly demonstrated with warmth and compassion for each other’s characters.

Archly Breaky Bride included the characters, Jolene (Leanne Campbell), Sue (Philip Olivier), Faye (Olivia Sloyan), Hank (Adam Curtis), and Breathless & Mikey ( David Heath). Lindzi Germain, Jenna Sian O’Hara and Emma Vaudrey all played multiple roles in the show. The cast had a great energy throughout their performance, they certainly kept the audience amused with laughter and joy as they watched the show with glee.

For me, stand out performance of the night was Lindzi Germain, she completely stole the show for me with her many hilarious characters. When she appeared on the stage, the audience were waiting with anticipation at what she was going to do next. All her characters were very different and added so much comedy into the show. Her diversity as an actress shone throughout her performance, plus her delivery of funny one-liners. Special mention to Leanne Campbell, Philip Olivier and Olivia Sloyan, who held the show together and kept the narractive of the story flowing.

The story opened to the iconic Dolly Parton song, '9 To 5', whilst Faye was attempting to make preparations in the Bridal shop, but kept getting interrupted with phone calls. It’s never a dull moment in Dolly’s Dream Dresses, Liverpool boutique Bridal run by a lad called Sue (Don’t ask why) and his sister, Jolene. The crazy antics soon unfolded as Sue, Jolene and Faye worked non-stop from 9-5 to assist these blushing brides-to-be prepare for the most important day in their lives.

Archly Beaky Bride followed the trials and tribulations of being in love and the rollercoaster of emotions, it can cause. It wasn’t just the customers experiencing complications in their love lives, but the staff were going through these same emotions too. The Boutique Bridal shop was the central location for the drama that unfolded amongst the staff and brides. There was complete chaos at times, which added another dimension to the show.

The set design of Achy Breaky Bride was absolutely brilliant, no expense was spared. The attention to detail was fantastic in the layout of the Brudal show as it had everything one would expect in a Bridal shop. The set looked vibrant with colour and life. One of the best set designs I have seen in a production in a long while. I really liked that there were different places for the characters to be positioned for certain scenes of the show.

The costumes looked great on all the characters, especially the blushing bride’s outfits. These additional costumes were provided by Elizabeth Nelson and Marie Sheridan from Bridesworld in Wallasey and Liverpool. I have to say, the wedding outfits looked absolutely stunning and extremely elegant. There were some risqué outfits, which fueled the audience laughter and added even more comedy.

The Lighting Technicians, Marty Bold and Josh James, did a marvellous job lighting the set. The set was always bright and vibrant. There were a few blackouts, but these allowed for the scene transitions to be made. The Sound Technicans, Conrad Kemp and Jack Halliwell were brilliant as all dialogue and vocals of the songs could be clearly heard. The sound effects were good too.

The Choreography by Sarah Walker was brilliant with all the dance moves of the songs. There was a great element of Country / Western thrown in to the mix too. Unlike most shows, which may perform one famous song, Achy Breaky Bride was littered with them with old famous country songs including, 'Jolene', 'Crazy', 'Rhinestone Cowboy', 'Rose Garden', 'Stand By Your Man' and of course, 'Achy Breaky Heart'. Additionally, Shania Twain’s songs, 'Man I Feel Like A Woman' and 'You’re Still The One', which brought the show up to date with modern songs included too. I particularly liked how all these songs were incorporated into certain scenes of the show. The vocals of the songs were of a good standard too.

On a final note, I would definitely recommend you go and see Achy Breaky Bride, as it is one of the best comedy/ drama shows I have seen in a while. It has everything a show should have; Chaos, emotion, empathy, conflict, friction and love. I really hope this show gets to tour the production around the country as I am sure it will have audiences flocking to see it. Achy Breaky Bride made me cry with laughter at times and an absolute joy to watch the characters develop on stage.

Reviewer - Mark Cooper
on - 10/10/19

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