Interactive Theatre International’s Confetti and Chaos is back at its spiritual home, smack bang in the middle of the madness of the Edinburgh Festival.
The world’s worst wedding reception still has the ability to surprise and delight and it’s all down to the pin-sharp script and the enviable comedy acting and improvisation skills of its talented cast.
The whole idea is a winner, because we’ve all been there: the excruciating speeches, the wild cannon relatives, secrets tumbling out of the closet, lips getting looser as the alcohol flows freely, drunken dancing and worse, much, much worse. Just when you think it couldn’t get any crazier, it does. Did I mention that while all the madness unfolds we, the wedding guests, are all enjoying a three course meal?
While there’s a face-achingly funny script at its backbone, it’s the ability of the cast to interact and react with the ever-changing nightly audience that makes this more than just a performance but an event for the ‘guests’. No matter how effortless this looks, it takes phenomenally talented actors to pull it off. Nerine Skinner, Otis Waby, Helen Colby and Hayden Wood, double and triple-up on roles and manage to give each their own individual characterisation, and each is funnier than the last. The energy required is astonishing and the effort the actors put in is laudable.
Confetti and Chaos (formerly The Wedding Reception) remains as hysterical as it ever was, and stands up to multiple viewings. A show where quality is assured night after night.
Interactive Theatre International already have a well-established hit on their hands with their much-loved Faulty Towers Dining Experience. Created in 2015, The Wedding Reception offers the same mad-cap, interactive, who-knows-what’s coming next, evening of adventure.
Will and Kate have got married, and while the groom is under the illusion that their wedding reception is a quiet, intimate affair, his bride and his in-laws have other plans…
Every aspect of The Wedding Reception is startlingly familiar, the seating plan, the circular linen covered tables, the gilded chairs, sparkling silver cutlery, top table resplendent with a multi-tiered cake, a three course meal and over a hundred guests decked out in their finery. There’s also the jack-the-lad best man, an eye-poppingly clad mother of the bride, the snobby aunt, the uninvited mother of the groom and a somewhat out of his depth wedding planner.
A cast of just four gamely portray the motley cast of characters with great gusto. Ben Hood is a particular star as best man Ricky and bride’s dad Ray, his physical comedy garners the biggest laughs of the night and is the catalyst to the audience relaxing and enjoying the craziness. Dave Tremain’s expressions as put-upon bridegroom Will are a masterclass in comic acting: sometimes subtlety is key. There’s mild audience (guest) harassment but nothing that would make anyone uncomfortable and the mixture of madcap comedy and time to enjoy your food is well worked out.
The cast have to be lauded for not only keeping the action going throughout the two-hour plus running time, but also dealing with the unpredictable and unscripted responses of the ‘guests’.
This is an original take on a night at the theatre and delivers an exciting entertainment experience for those looking for something different. Great fun and highly recommended.
Glasgow Theatre Blog had the chance to talk to Rebecca Norris, co-creator of The Wedding Reception coming to Eastwood Park Theatre this May.
Tell us a little bit about the play.
The Wedding Reception is a unique immersive theatrical dining experience. It invites you to be a guest at a surprise wedding reception for newlyweds William and Kate. You join the family (and a few uninvited guests) through two hours of a muddled attempt at traditional wedding celebration rites where nothing seems to go as planned. They cry, laugh and dance, and hopefully you will too! (maybe not the cry bit).
And your role…
Four actors play nine roles in The Wedding Reception. I play two roles: Lynn (the mother of the bride) and Marge (the groom’s aunt). Lynn is a great role to play She’s a wonderful and warm northern lady. A bit of a mum to everyone and will talk about anything. Nothing is off limits with Lynn. Aunt Marge is much colder. A stuck up ‘wanna-be’ who’s faked most things in her life to get her where she is today.
How has the play been received so far, has it been different in different locations?
The Wedding Reception has been performed all over the UK, including Scotland and Wales – although this is our first time in Glasgow. We have even been lucky enough to do tours across Australia and a show in Singapore. Depending on the location, we change a few references in the show for audiences to relate to but on the whole we’ve found wherever we are the universal truth is that everyone loves a good wedding so everyone always has a great time.
What is life like backstage on tour?
Backstage on tour can be a bit crazy, really. We have a lot of quick costume changes throughout the show so backstage can be manic. Especially when we are out and about on tour and the size of our changing area can vary quite some bit. We’ve all been very close together in some shows.
Touring can be demanding, how do you keep your performance fresh/look after yourself when you’re having to travel as well as perform on stage at night?
Keeping this show fresh isn’t so much of a challenge, as it’s very different to traditional theatre shows. The audience members are not just watching a show, they become an integral part of it so with their input we never perform never same show twice. It certainly keeps us all on our toes. Good planning and keeping it all in good fun is key to staying healthy and fighting fatigue on the road. We spend a lot of time in each other’s company so trying find ways of making long journeys and mundane jobs fun is really important.
Can we go back a bit and talk about what inspired you to become an actor and the path you took to become one?
I didn’t get into acting until quite late – I was 30 before I’d even considered it. Although I remember having a love of theatre when I was younger, I never considered it to be an option. It was only by chance that I did a workshop in Brighton which actually changed everything. Suddenly my sole focus and drive was on acting. I went to drama school and worked full-time while attending to fund myself. Once I graduated I tried to make sure each job I got would lead to another until it became my full-time job and I’ve never looked back.
Any advice for aspiring performers?
It’s never too late! If it’s something you have a passion for then go get involved. Maybe do some courses and see where it takes you.
Finally, why should people come along to see the play? And where else can we see it?
Everyone should come to see this play! – though it’s PG, because of some sexual innuendo and partial nudity. That aside, each show is truly different as audiences react in various ways to being swept up in the raucous action. Whatever happens though, one thing’s for sure – it will be an unforgettable experience.
You are all invited to the most madcap marital celebration of them all and get to eat a 3-course meal as well.
We are playing at Carmichael Hall in Eastwood Park Theatre on Saturday 12 May at 7:30pm.