BWW Review: IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU at Richmond Triangle Players, a Feel-Good Wedding With a Twist
There's no mistaking that audiences will love Richmond Triangle Players' production of IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU at the Robert B. Moss Theatre through July 1.
While the stakes aren't high, and the book by Brian Hargrove and music by Barbara Anselmi are superficial, RTP's production serves up high-energy performances and buckets-of-laughs that will keep audiences entertained until the final curtain.
The story is familiar: In-laws clash over their children's impending nuptials. It's the day of the wedding for Jewish bride-to-be Rebecca Steinberg (Grey Garrett) and her Catholic fiancé' Brian Howard (Luke Newsome). Rebecca's self-proclaimed "overweight" and unmarried older sister Jenny (Georgia Rogers Farmer), who will probably never get married, is helping with the festivities. Rebecca's mother, Judy (Jacqueline O' Connor), makes her disapproval clear. She meets her equal in Brian's mother, Georgette Howard (Susan Sanford). Things start to really unravel when Jenny accidentally calls Marty Kauffman (Ian Page), the ex the Steinbergs wanted their daughter to marry. An uproarious plot twist at the culmination of the first act turns the show entirely on its head.
Given a script that's overcrowded with empty one-liners better suited to the television sitcom trope; it's to the credit of director Jon Kretzu and his cast, who each has shining moments, for maintaining and exaggerating the farcical style of the show. This is why RTP's IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU delivers.
Frank Foster's boutique hotel set is stylish and functional and sits well on the compact stage. Michael Jarrett's lighting adds elegance. Tucked away in the scenery, Kim Fox's five-member band keeps the production moving. Kikau Alvaro's choreography is minimal but effective, especially during the father-son, soft-shoe routine, "Back in the Day," executed with perfect awkwardness by Mark Persinger and Luke Newsome.
As the best man and maid of honor carrying a whopper of a secret, Jessi Johnson and Durron Tyre share a crowd-rousing moment during the formulaic, wedding-toast ballad "Love You Till the Day." Kirk Morton earns plenty of laughs as Albert the wedding planner. John Mincks and Louise Ricks are amusing in their secondary roles as odd Uncle Morty and sex-starved Aunt Shelia. O'Connor has a spotlight moment in the Sondheim-imitator, "Nice."
With expert comedic timing, Susan Sanford is the highlight of the production and makes the most of her solo number, "Where Did I Go Wrong," a hilarious lament that her son did not turn out gay despite her greatest efforts. On a side note: Audiences may want her Georgette to mix their cocktails at the bar.
IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU isn't smart and doesn't have a lot of artistic merit, but it's thoroughly entertaining and offers the kind of trivial comedy audiences need right now. The production runs through July 1 at the Robert B. Moss Theatre.