Weddings are terrifying.
Sure, they’re glamorous and the bride always looks beautiful, but having extended families colliding with copious amounts of stress, alcohol and emotions is always going to be a recipe for disaster.
Luckily, in the case of It Shoulda Been You the disasters are hilarious.
The first show in the Chatswood Musical Society’s 2017 season, It Shoulda Been You is a new contemporary musical from Brian Hargrove and Barbara Anselmi. This production marks the Australian Premiere.
The play follows the wedding day preparations of the neurotic Steinbergs and the privileged Howards. Mother of the bride, Judy (Mannix), is working the sister-of-the-bride, Jenny (Angel) mercilessly to ensure that her more favoured daughter has the perfect wedding day. Meanwhile, George and Georgette Howard (Ayres and Saddington respectively) are plotting ways to stop their son from going ahead with the nuptials. Throw in an ex who comes to the wedding with a secret he’s been guarding for years and a twist that no one sees coming and you’ve got a recipe for a great theatrical outing.
The female cast members are great and carry the production. Angel, all doe eyes and heartfelt longing makes for a perfect Jenny while both Mannix and Ayres are hilariously brilliant in their roles as the warring mothers. Another standout is Atha Kastanias as the campy, all knowing and completely unfazed wedding planner Albert. Having ‘done it all’ in the wedding industry, the character comes to the rescue with a nonchalant wisdom that is amusingly at odds with the insanity of the extended families.
On opening night, there were sound issues throughout and pitch problems in the supporting cast as well as some clumsy choreography, but the punch lines are delivered with such great comedic timing that the show continues to be thoroughly enjoyable despite these minor flaws.
It’s really heartening to witness non-professional musical societies stepping outside of the comfort bubble that is musical theatre that audiences are already familiar. It can be risky, but Chatswood Musical Society has proven that it’s a risk that can really pay off.
It Shoulda Been You is playing at the Independent Theatre in North Sydney until the 8th of April. More information and tickets can be found at https://www.chatswoodmusicalsociety.org/
Cast: Chloe Angel, Michaela Leisk, Jon Emmett, Dave Berry, Kate Mannix, Chapin Ayres, Dylan Hayley, Greg Thornton, Ken Goth, Michael Saddington, Atha Kastanias, Julia Brovedani, Graeme Halliday.
Creative Team: James Worner (Director), Natalya Aynsley (Musical Director), Natalie Neary (Choreographer).