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There Goes the Bride 2014

Vancouver’s Metro Theatre presents a new and delightful version of There Goes the Bride, a very solid and witty 1974 British farce by distinguished British producer and director Ray Cooney and his collaborator John Chapman. This current production is very professional at all levels – acting, direction, stage and costume design, lighting and use of music – and is moreover great fun and full of subtle humor.

The convention in farce is that comedy is achieved through exaggeration and preposterous circumstances that seem to spiral out of control and become ever more ludicrous. There Goes the Bride is an excellent example of the genre.

There Goes the Bride 2014

Timothy Westerby is an ad executive under considerable stress to launch an important ad campaign for a bra manufacturer; this in addition to the stress of his daughter’s expensive wedding. He arrives home with a cardboard cut-out of a 1920’s flapper which he intends to use in the ad campaign. An accident in which he hits his head results in him imagining that the cut-out is a real girl going by the name of Polly Perkins (well played by Jill Raymond), who in turn wants to seduce him.

Unfortunately, only Timothy can see and hear Polly. The end result is that the other characters slowly become convinced that the strain of both work and the wedding have sent Tim over the edge. Adding to the confusion is the addled grandfather; the daughter distraught that her father will not likely walk her down the isle at the church (and who disappears in tears into her bedroom, thus the title of the play); and a series of phone calls with Charles Babcock, the Australian father of the groom, in which all sorts of inappropriate things are said and false promises made.

There Goes The Bride

Farce is a teamwork effort and is actually quite difficult to do well. Timing is everything. The actors must be dynamic and precise in their delivery. In this production, all eight actors work together under Catherine Morrison’s steady hand to bring off a very successful effort. As director, she puts her own personal stamp on this play.

The linchpin role belongs to Timothy Westerby; he’s the main focus of all of the confusion and is on stage for most of the play. David Wallace is excellent in this role, performing with verve and energy. In the second act, moreover, he has a couple of Ginger Rogers/Fred Astaire dancing scenes, choreographed by Vanessa Coley-Donohue, which he and his partner, Jill Raymond, carry off with aplomb and skill.

The Westerby female family members are Emma Green as Ursula (the mother), Leah Ringwald as Judy (the daughter), and Diana Sandberg as Daphne Drimmond (the grandmother). All perform their parts admirably. It is easy to imagine these three related to one another. The cast is ably rounded off by Christian Sloan as Bill Shorter, in a supporting role as Timothy’s business partner, and, in the second act, Tom Kavadias as Charles Babcock.

There Goes The Bride

But without taking anything away from the rest of the players, the absolute delight in this play is Don Glossop playing Dr. Gerald Drimmond, grandfather of the bride. He is confused, somewhat deaf, and possibly mildly senile. As such, his role of course serves to increase the already considerable confusion. I could not imagine anyone performing this role better.

Catherine Morrison’s set design (assisted by Dwayne Campbell and Tracy-Lynn Chemaske) beautifully recreates a suburban living room and is enhanced by Les Erskine’s lighting which creates the rosy hue one expects at a wedding. Amanda Karaca has designed colorful costumes for the ladies of the cast; Judy’s wedding gown and Polly’s yellow dress are particularly beautiful.

There is a great use of music from different eras both before the play gets underway (lots of Cole Porter to set the tone), and during the dance scenes. I found myself singing along to “My Blue Heaven” and “California Here I Come”. From My Fair Lady, “Get Me To The Church On Time” serves to lead the audience into the play at the start and following the intermission.

There Goes The Bride

The combination of a solid cast and crew and a good script results in a memorable and delightful experience. Director Catherine Morrison and her collaborators present a show that both the cast and the audience enjoyed. For anyone with a love for this type of theatre, this show is a “must see” that will not disappoint.

There Goes the Bride continues at the Metro Theatre Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 pm until March 22, with a matinée performance at 2:30 pm on Sunday, March 16.

About Our Contributor Michael Pigeon

Michael Pigeon

Michael is a long-time Vancouver resident who's recently returned home after living abroad for over a decade. Michael enjoys reconnecting with Canadian culture through the Greater Vancouver theatre scene and being retired in a city that offers so many opportunities to live a healthy, engaged lifestyle.

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