BWW Review: THE BRIDE at The Blue Room Theatre
Nadia Collins is bugging out in her latest show which has just opened at The Blue Room Theatre for the Summer Nights/FRINGE WORLD season. She's created a sketch comedy about a bride who turns into a cockroach on her wedding day, and let me tell you, it is one heckuva silly ride.
Things start out pretty calmly; Collins, dressed in coveralls and a breathing mask, is spraying the KAOS room for roaches as the audience enters. She establishes a rapport with the crowd through some cockroachy banter and trivia, but as soon as a voiceover begins, she protests loudly about "some theatre shit" starting and quickly exits the room.
The voiceover is a grandfather and son reading a bedtime storybook about a bride - a nod to The Princess Bride, complete with a Peter Falk impression. Collins re-enters the space and attempts to put on a tacky wedding gown (well, it wouldn't have been tacky in the 80s), with help on the zipper by an audience member.
From there, things continue to snowball into manic chaos, with Collins standing in as the expectant groom at the wedding ceremony, then stepping out of that character and flashing back to the hen's night (overflowing with miniature penis props of course), and then at last, transforming into a cockroach after drunkenly devouring some floor pizza.
All of this is managed with the active participation of very generous audience members along the way - they're prompted gently by Collins (usually a whisper in the ear) and catch on quickly to what she's asking them to do. For instance, someone is given a torch to shine on the newborn roach, following her for a couple of turns around the room as she wildly tries to scurry away from the light. Other bits involve participants putting on silly pink dresses or slip-on tuxes, or having cake shoved in their mouths; eventually we all get into the act with props hidden under our chairs.
Collins flew through her stage time at lightning speed, managing to wrap the show with 20 minutes to spare on the clock. We'll put that down to opening night adrenaline, which can push a performance right to the edge of a cliff, especially one that relies so heavily on the input of its audience, making timing a show in rehearsal damn near impossible.
Nevertheless, Collins managed to hold onto the crazytrain full of us willing passengers, who happily stayed with her right to the precipice. I have no doubt that with opening night out of the way, The Bride will find its rhythm, and Collins will find moments to let the show breathe within the chaos.
I'd love to see where she takes the show next - it's got legs (and antennae), and more than enough material (and props) to keep playing with.
The Bride runs until 8 Feb at The Blue Room Theatre as part of FRINGE WORLD.