It’s not every day that you’re encouraged to crash a wedding reception, but that’s exactly what Interactive Theatre International offer in their new dinner-theatre production. Already known for their regular Faulty Towers the Dining Experience, this is a chance to be part of the not-so-royal wedding of Will and Kate. Spoiler alert: thanks to a best man with allergies and a mother you wouldn’t want to meet on a dark night, not everything goes to plan.
Things are behind schedule and a stressed wedding planner, Marvin, is running in and out, as the guests nervously sip their drinks in an alley next to the venue. Gradually you meet Kate and Will’s family – including no-nonsense Ray, the father of the bride, and her flamboyant mother Lynne, who gave me a wine gum. Most of the drama plays out inside the restaurant as the audience are treated to a sit-down dinner with the newlyweds and their increasingly dysfunctional friends and relatives. It all gets pretty surreal, as the actors interact with the guests as though they’re genuinely part of the wedding party.
Not even the most difficult of brides could fault the attention to detail, for all the trappings are present: there’s confetti, novelty things to have your photo taken with, and a guest book to sign (with some slightly worrying entries in it). Considering the format, the extremely limited space and the fact that four actors play ten characters – something I actually failed to notice at the time – the acting is praise-worthy, particularly from Rebecca Norris as the mother of the bride.
All of this meant that lots of the audience/guests were having an absolute riot by the time they were invited to get up and dance at the end – but I did feel like the only one there not to have downed a quick bottle of wine before going into the show. Meanwhile, bearing in mind the price of each ticket, the food was generally disappointing. For me, it all got a bit EastEnders-ish as the bride screamed “Riiiicky” repeatedly at the best man misbehaving, but it must be said that there was a lot of laughter in the room throughout the meal.
Overall then, it wasn’t my thing, but lots of my fellow guests were clearly having a great time. Don’t go there just for the food – but do go if you’re in a group, and up for getting stuck in with some slapstick family melodrama. A little Dutch courage beforehand comes recommended too.