My Big Gay Italian Wedding
Written by Anthony J Wilkinson, music and lyrics by David Boyd
Produced by Paul Taylor-Mills and Lillie Collier in association with Above The Stag
Above The Stag Theatre
My Big Gay Italian Wedding comes to London's fringe from Off Broadway by way of Edinburgh.
With a title like that you can probably guess the plot: there cannot be many who are not familiar with the 2002 rom-com My Big Fat Greek Wedding which has the privilege of holding the title of top grossing movie which never made it to number one in the charts.
This play takes the key story of the film - a young couple whose wedding plans are commandeered by their immigrant families and their cultural demands and foibles - adds to it the gay element of similar film Mambo Italiano, and throws in an exaggeratedly affected wedding planner (Father of the Bride 1991 remake), oh yes and a half a dozen argumentative lesbian friends as well.
It's not very original in this sense and it isn't even terribly well written, but my goodness it is funny. It has no pretensions of being anything other than a happy-ending comedy delivered with excessive campery and stereotyping and I was more than happy to surrender to it and enjoy the pervading warmth and good nature, that started as soon as we were welcomed with offers of pizza and nachos.
Ceris Hine gives a lovely turn as Maria, sister of the groom, Anthony. She wants to sing at the wedding and Ave Maria will never be the same again for me after seeing her interpretation. Rebecca Hickey has terrific stage presence and gives a wonderfully comic performance as Rodney, one of Anthony's lesbian coterie who colludes behind the scenes to make it all happen. Good performances too from Paul Easom as Antony's father and the Father, and Matthew Barksby who plays ex-boyfriend Gregorio sporting a huge post-Tintin quiff. Over the top Maurizio's look also brings to mind endearing bald cartoon characters.
Director Paul Taylor-Mills has created some witty tableaux but equally some blocking is straight-line dull emphasising the tight rectangular space, decorated in the show's colour scheme of the red white and green of the Italian flag. Andrew Beckett's design also included some magnificently tacky fake flower and fairy light bouquets for the girls in the same theme.
My Big Gay Italian Wedding is brassy, energisingly lively and unsubtle. Just like pizza, you wouldnt want it every day, but you wouldnt want to live without it either.
"My Big Gay Italian Wedding" runs until 19th November; running time is 90 minute with no interval
Reviewer: Sandra Giorgetti