BWW Reviews: ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID Needs More Grooming

BWW Reviews: ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID Needs More Grooming

I'm a great fan of Golden Girls, the legendary and hilarious TV sitcom for which Jamie Wooten was a producer and writer ~ the same Jamie Wooten of the equally prolific comedic trio of Jones Hope Wooten that penned Always A Bridesmaid. I therefore expected a comedy imbued with similar sparkles of wit and sophistication, only to be left at the altar, disappointed by trite, forced, and flat stabs at humor.

However, it appears that I may have been the exception among Fountain Hill Theater's audience, comprised primarily of women, who were eating up the lines and enjoying the bridesmaids' dilemmas. Always A Bridesmaid is humor-lite and clearly, at least from this evening's evidence, has a strong appeal either to those whose theatrical appetite is on a diet or for whom the messages regarding marriage and its pitfalls resonated.

The story line has great potential: Four friends in high school vow that they will be bridesmaids at each other's weddings. Thirty years later, and in the course of a seven year period, they get to fulfill their shared promise, always at the same place, the Laurelton Oaks bridal parlor, and always fraught with challenges ~ whether it's releasing doves at the beginning of hunting season, a runaway bride, miscues on dress instructions, or fisticuffs at the altar.

When it comes to chewing up the scenery, this cast is as good as it gets: Marren Sanders as the ever-optimistic Libby Ruth for whom, come hell or high water, everything is so romantic; Dyana Carroll as Monette, sexy, self-absorbed, and, no wonder, a perpetual bride; Stephani McDonald as the hippie-ish Charlie whose aversion to marriage is simply neurotic; and Christi Sweeney, snappy and elegant as Deedra who has a choice to make between the devil she knows and the one she doesn't.

The bridesmaids are kept in tow, despite their approach-avoidance mania, by Laurelton Oaks' owner, Sedalia Ellicott (Barbara McBain), who will not abide any interference with her well-laid wedding plans, even if it takes an axe to make the persuasive point.

A bright and shining light of this show is Carli Weekley, as newlywed Kari, whose entr'acte conversations with the guests at her wedding reveal a marvelous comic sensibility. She is joyous in tossing pearls of humor to an audience-in-waiting.

Finally, kudos to Noel Irick for masterfully dressing up the cast in stunning and colorful costumes and Peter Hill for designing a meticulously arranged set befitting Sedalia's patrician tastes.

Always A Bridesmaid, directed by Peter J. Hill ends its run on Sunday, August 24th. Fountain Hills Theater's new season continues with the opening of Cats on August 29th.

Photo Credit: Patty Torrilhon

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Herbert Paine Herb Paine is President of Paine Consulting Services, now in its twenty-sixth year of operation, specializing in organizational development, strategic planning, turnaround management, mergers, and governance. He is a nationally recognized expert on all aspects of nonprofit organization management and has consulted extensively with arts and cultural organizations on strategic positioning and branding. For more, visit http://www.UpYourNonprofit.com.

His social and political commentaries are aired monthly on KJZZ/91.5 FM, NPR’s Phoenix affiliate.??Herb’s most recent acting credits include roles as Inspector LeStrade in Fountain Hills Theater’s Sherlock’s Last Case, Berry Bernard in the short film Living Will, and Sgt. Jeff Pugliese in the National Geographic Channel’s April 2014 docudrama Inside the Hunt for the Boston Bombers.


 
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