Clever comedy relies on sassy characters

An all-women cast brings the laughs at four wacky weddings in Bard to Broadway’s Always a Bridesmaid.  With a parade of ugly bridesmaid dresses the southern belles navigate the choppy waters of love and matrimony and present a rollicking tale at the Village theatre in Qualicum Beach.  - Brenda Gough Photo
An all-women cast brings the laughs at four wacky weddings in Bard to Broadway’s Always a Bridesmaid. With a parade of ugly bridesmaid dresses the southern belles navigate the choppy waters of love and matrimony and present a rollicking tale at the Village theatre in Qualicum Beach.
— image credit: Brenda Gough Photo


NEWS Contributor

When you throw in a Marie Antoinette bridesmaid dress, sassy one-liners and a cast of characters who poke fun at every wedding cliché in the guest book, you have a recipe for a laugh-out-loud comedy.

Always a Bridesmaid opened the 15th season of Bard to Broadway’s summer repertory theatre with a clever comedy that had the audience in stitches from start to finish.

If you’ve ever pushed a stranger out of the way to catch the bouquet, or have been duty-bound to wear the world’s ugliest bridesmaid dress, this over-the-top marriage-go-round is for you.

In this hilarious comedic romp, four friends have sworn to keep the promise they made on the night of their senior prom: to be in each other’s weddings no matter what … they just didn’t know they’d still be performing the role quite so often, or decades later.

Forsaking all others, in sickness and in health, the loyal friends-for-life repeatedly attempt to stage a perfect wedding in spite of fist fights at the altar and runaway brides.

The four scenes take place over the span of seven years in the sitting room of a suite in the Laurelton Oaks in Virginia, where each of the women has been married, some of them multiple times.  And each time, they’re bridesmaids for whomever is getting hitched.

Although director Jay Norton had a well written-script created by the most produced playwrights in the United States, the Jones Hope Wooten trio, he was also blessed with a stellar cast of southern-fried characters who delivered a rollicking good time.

Kelly Jiggins nailed her character of Libby Ruth, the hopeful romantic who supports the women in all of their nuptial planning.  It may have been Jiggins’ first experience with acting, but she was a natural on stage and delivered a solid performance as an overly-romantic idealist. Jiggins committed to Libby Ruth’s sense of whimsy, singing at the top of her lungs in all keys and conversing with a tiny, stuffed poodle.

Daniella Novak as the kinda flashy, kinda trashy, high-spirited and self-involved Monette had just the right amount of insecurity mixed with sass in her performance.

A bit of a showgirl and flirt, Monette has some dramatic entrances and exits wearing some interesting outfits.

The most memorable was when she appeared in a grandiose bridesmaid dress and referred to herself as Monette Antoinette.

Each ugly dress is a laugh-out-loud show-stopper including one which is referred to as “a street walker named desire.”

Monette’s life lessons learned from several marriages pop up frequently in the form of sassy one-liners, including: “Women will never be equal to men ... until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut and still think they’re sexy.”

Beleaguered bridesmaid Charlie is performed by Susan Warner, whose outrageous style has brought many laughs to the Village Theatre as a member of ECHO Players.

As the tree-hugging, Birkenstock-wearing curmudgeonly outdoorswoman, Warner plays a 49-year-old spinster and is hysterically funny in the role.

From blowing her nose into toilet paper to slouching around in a not-so-sexy French maid’s costume, Warner delivers another great, over-the-top performance.

Rounding out the group of gal pals is Deedra, played by seasoned actor Samantha Bau, who flexes her acting muscles as a perfect pinch-faced judge.

Bau embraces her meaty role right from the start when she arrives at the bridal parlour after being robbed and having her bridesmaid dress stolen by transvestite thieves. Deedra’s only satisfaction from the situation is that the dress makes the guy who stole it look fat.

Laurel Johannson plays Sedalia, a no-nonsense wedding planner who is so obsessed with her establishment’s reputation of never having lost a bride that she is not above using extreme tactics in preserving it. Johannson does a great job of capturing Sedalia’s persnickety essence.

Interspersed between scenes are vignettes of Kristen Freed as Kari, the daughter of Libby Ruth, as she delivers the toast at her wedding reception.

Freed acts as a narrator, tying the scenes together and eventually appears in the final scene as the cycle of marriage continues into the next generation.

Playing the kind-hearted spirited southern charmer, Freed makes a big impression with her wide-eyed innocence and progressively more champagne induced demeanor.

Utterly ridiculous, Always a Bridesmaid runs until August 11 at the Village theatre in Qualicum Beach.  Visit  HYPERLINK “http://www.b2btheatre.com” www.b2btheatre.com for show times and phone 250-725-4470 for tickets.



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