Achy Breaky Bride
Writers: Emma Culshaw & David Paul
Cast: Leanne Campbell, Lindzi Germain, David Heath, Olivia Sloyan, Philip Olivier, Adam Curtis, Emma Vaudrey & Jenna Sian O’Hara
Review Date: October 10 2019
Performances: October 9-19 2019, 7.30pm, 8pm & 4pm matinees
Location: Epstein Theatre, Liverpool
Duration: 120 Minutes incl. interval
Age Rating: 15+
Achy Breaky Bride has received a lot of positive acclaim already from its previous showings around the North-West, and as it hits the Epstein Theatre, it was easy to see why as this show is a barrel of laughs from start to finish.
The play is set in a bridal store named Dolly’s Dream Dresses, and the shop assistant Faye (Olivia Sloyan) is waiting for the customers to arrive. Amongst those who turn up are a gypsy family who want a “Big Fat Gypsy Wedding” with a bride named Bernadette, and she takes a photograph of the dress so she can order a copy! There are songs thrown in such as Rose Garden and Jolene (performed by a character of the same name, who is played by Leanne Campbell). Next, we meet Jolene’s friend, a drag queen named Breathless (David Heath), who plans to be an X Factor auditionee, and Miss Wallis (one of several characters played by Lindzi Germain), who is writing to people on Death Row! After Breathless sings “Man I Feel Like A Woman”, we meet Jolene’s twin brother Sue (Philip Olivier), named after the Johnny Cash song. We soon learn that Hank (an Elvis impersonator and a stripper played by Adam Curtis) dumped Jolene, though she still loves him.
In the middle of all of these crazy events, Faye learns that her boyfriend is a terrible gambler, and she ends up taking money to clear his debts, allowing Sue to believe that he lost the cash himself. After Hank turns up unexpectedly, Jolene does a runner, all while the other various characters are still attempting to find the most suitable dresses for their respective big days. So, you have a concoction of relationship breakdowns and attempted fixes, money problems, and ongoing concern as to who will get the dress that they truly want, and it is all played out in a spectacularly amusing fashion.
Indeed, while the plot is easy to follow and has some amusing twists and turns, it is the humour that truly carries this show. The one-liners are funny, but it is the madcap shenanigans which make this a winner. You can’t help but laugh at some of the bizarre situations that the characters find themselves in, as well as their respective reactions. Lindzi Germain, in particular, is superb in her multiple roles and elevates an already-hilarious production to the proverbial next level. Amongst the other characters, everyone is believable in their roles, and there are occasionally moments of both unintentional humour (from some performers perhaps having minor struggles to fulfil their stage requirements, shall we say) and intentional yet subtle comedy that end up achieving some of the night’s biggest laughs. Add to that the backdrop that is relatable (even if the character’s dilemmas are not!), and you have a show that ticks all of the boxes from a light-hearted, if occasionally risqué, theatre production.
Achy Breaky Bride has been hyped for a long time, and it met our expectations by delivering a thoroughly enjoyable and leg-slapping evening of entertainment. We strongly encourage anyone reading this to check it out at the Epstein Theatre!
Target Audience: Adults Aged 30-55
Content: 4/5 – Frequent Strong Language, Frequent Sex References & Innuendo
Overall Rating: 9/10 – Outstanding
Achy Breaky Bride runs at the Epstein Theatre until Saturday October 19. To buy tickets, click here or call 0844 888 4411.