My Big Gay Italian Wedding, Above The Stag Theatre

2 Nov

My Big Gay Italian Wedding has been playing on Off-Broadway for several years now and was also shown at the Edinburgh Fringe before transferring to the Above The Stag Theatre in London. The play is written by Anthony J. Wilkinson and this production is directed by Paul Taylor Mills.

The story is quite cheeky with a little bit of romance and lots of laughs mixed in. Anthony (Ben Vivian-Jones) and Andrew (Robert Hannouch) want to marry, but planning a traditional Italian wedding is not as easy or straight-forward as it seems, especially with Anthony’s overbearing mother (Julie Ross), who refuses to give her blessing unless Andrew’s estranged mother does the same and insists on the ceremony being performed by a (Catholic!) priest and Andrew’s ex-boyfriend (Matthew Barksby), who wants to break them up, involved. Add to that a completely mad wedding planner (Andrew Beckett) and some (slightly less crazy) friends and family members (Paul Easom, Ceris Hine, Sarah Dearlove, Grace O’Malley, Lillie Collier, Jill Regan, Cassandra Harris and Rebecca Hickey) and chaos ensues.

The atmosphere of the play is set straight from the moment when the audience walks into the theatre, with the cast welcoming the “wedding guests” in character and mingle with them until everyone is seated. There is also some audience interaction during the play. The backdrop and the costumes are mainly all kept to green, white and red. It’s so simple, but works so well.

I thought the whole cast was great. Matthew Barskby and Andrew Beckett probably got the most laughs, but there isn’t any weak link in it. Ben Vivian-Jones and Robert Hannouch are very strong actors and have great chemistry as Anthony and Andrew (and they make a very sweet couple!).

It’s simply a hilarious, feel-good and brash play. I definitely enjoyed it a lot and couldn’t help smiling at the ending. 90 minutes of great entertainment, what more could you possibly want from a night out at the theatre?!

My Big Gay Italian Wedding runs until the 19th November at the Above The Stag Theatre in Victoria. Tickets are £15 and can be booked online or by calling 020 8932 4747.

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