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The Wedding Singer as presented by Ennis Musical Society

The Wedding Singer as presented by Ennis Musical Society

Date of Adjudication: Saturday, 30th March 2024.

What The Wedding Singer lacks in depth and drama, it more than makes up for with a great sense of fun and some rockin’ good music, and it’s a great tonic for an audience, who can sit back, relax and enjoy the frolics without having to engage the brain too much. Having spoken to Director, Jessica Bray, after the show, I loved her attitude to the piece, appreciating that it was a great comedic romp, entertainment for entertainment’s sake, that gave plenty of involvement for performers young and old, and that sense of fun pervaded her handling of the material. Characters were nicely exaggerated and diverse, and the romantic story was almost told tongue-in-cheek. The pace of the show was very good and technically and visually, it ticked all the right boxes.

The show employed a simple and effective, but cleverly designed set, consisting of three sets of silver slash curtains, through which props and furniture were easily moved into place, with stage right opening up to become the Dumpster area, and Julia’s bedroom, while stage left opened into Robbie’s basement bedroom in his Grandma’s house. Good stage management by Lorcan McAuliffe, saw changes occur tidily with little interruption to the flow of the show. Props were generally very good and appropriate, and while the Car front used by Glen in his opening scene was clever, it was a tad dilapidated for such a wealthy guy. The show was nicely costumed, with all the necessary trappings of the wedding functions, good brides’ dresses, nice outfits for the band, and the waitresses distinctive from the guests. The wide range of hairstyles, as with the costumes, were always appropriate to the era of the show and there were no problems with make-up.

Musical Director, Shane Farrell, led a very fine band with good authority and very good tempi and tone throughout the show. Everything was well-paced, and there was a good balance between the pounding rhythms of the dance numbers and the more mellow tones of the romantic songs. There was good balance too between pit and stage, allowing the good harmonies and fine diction of the chorus, under Chorus Mistress, Eilis O’Neill, to be clearly heard. With accomplished principal vocalists as well, this was a safe and sound musical offering.

In the role of Robbie Hart, Patrick Woulfe had the charm and charisma required to be a convincing front man for the band, and there was good sincerity in his acting as well as good comedy delivery. He was vocally secure and able to accompany himself on guitar, even if the guitar did need a bit more amplification.

Cliodhna McNelis captured the warm and good-natured personality of Julia perfectly, and combined with a beautifully mellow vocal tone, it was easy to feel all of her emotions throughout the show. A very endearing performance.

Feargal Kearney, as Glen Gulia, had swagger and arrogance that fitted his loathsome character. He delivered All About The Green with great confidence, but for the most part, he was just delightfully obnoxious, which is, of course, a compliment.

Julita Fox, as Holly, lit up the stage, full of attitude and the kind of blatant sexuality that scares most men out of making a move for fear of getting a punch or maybe a disease. She hilariously embraced her inner slut while still showing signs of insecurity. Vocally, she nailed her songs with supreme confidence.

Eoin Gilmartin, as Sammy, gave a very cocky and confident performance, perfectly combining wannabe rock-star attitude and total nerdiness, that kind of friend that you put up with because you know he has a kind heart under all the bravado. Nicely played and well sung.

Sean McInerney was a delightfully camp George, without going over the top. His comedy was well-timed, and he built a good relationship with Grandma. He was also very funny in his delivery of his singing.

Hilary Orpen-Ryan aged beautifully to give zest and zany humour to the role of Grandma, really enjoying the outrageous inappropriateness of so many of her lines. This was very nicely played, with fun and energy and great vocal delivery.

Saoirse Daly made the most of slutty Rock-chick, Linda, tastefully vulgar in her gyrations, selfish and insincere in her attitude, just as the character should be. Her vocals were confidently and securely delivered.

Sarah Kenny was a suitably shallow but streetwise mother to Julia, in the role of Angie, playing with controlled ease and the relaxed stage presence that comes with good experience. A very good character comedy performance.

As well as performing strongly as a unit, many of the chorus also filled the plethora of cameo roles as brides, grooms, best men, guests, vicars, et al, and did so with talent and conviction. They were also well-rehearsed and accurate in their vocal contribution to the show As a group, they were energetic and very capable for the dancing demands. Laura-Jane Allis injected her choreography with plenty of energy and creativity, devising routines that were within the capabilities of her dancers, hence the good level of precision and delivery. I loved the twee routine for ‘Single’ and the high energy of ‘Saturday Night in the City,’ but there was good expressive work too in ‘Casualty of Love’, ‘All About The Green’ and ‘Move That Thang’. A very pleasing contribution to the show.

Many of the scenes were enhanced by good lighting, with plenty of effects for the party scenes and good colour, atmosphere and focus in the more intimate scenes. Faces and actions were well highlighted. Sound quality was fine and well-balanced, allowing voices to be clearly heard over the musicians.

Ennis Musical Society continue to impress, not just with talent, but with a warm and embracing sense of community and inclusiveness. It is evident in their front of house activities and in their hospitality, and as far as performance is concerned, one always feels that warmth emanating from the stage, and on this occasion, it led to a very pleasing and entertaining overall production. Sincere thanks to all concerned for a highly enjoyable night.

Peter Kennedy

Gilbert Adjudicator 2023/24

Photos by

John O'Neill


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