Perhaps it's because weddings are so grounded in decorum that playwrights and screenwriters and dinner-theater producers are compelled to hurl them into chaos. They take a day in which it's critical that everything goes right and wring laughter from it by having everything go wrong. What a scream!
So, we have British actor / playwright Robin Hawdon's Perfect Wedding, on stage at North Coast Repertory Theatre. Matthew Wiener, who directed an uproarious Lend Me a Tenor at the Solana Beach theater two years ago, is at the helm again. But this full-volume farce is nowhere near as appealing. Perfect Wedding has the same scrambling about the stage from room to room, mistaken identities and frozen double takes as Tenor, and the pace is just as appropriately frantic, so why does it all become so exhausting?
The serpentine story line for a start. Groomto-be Bill (Christopher M. Williams, Max in that 2011 Lend Me a Tenor) wakes up on the morning of his wedding day in bed with Judy (Brenda Dodge), whom he doesn't remember falling into the sack with the night before. Best man Tom (Jason Maddy) arrives and is wheedled by a hyperventilating Bill into pretending, for the sake of about-to-arrive bride-to-be Rachel (Amanda Schaar), that the strange girl belongs to him. Only Tom mistakes the chambermaid (Kerry McCue) for the strange girl, not knowing that the real strange girl is his actual date for the wedding. In spite of all these hapless complications, it basically turns out to be a bug-eyed game of hide and seek: Hide the bad girl from the good girl. Or is it the good girl from the bad girl? Oh, to hell with it.
Kudos to the cast for its nonstop energy throughout. McCue, as the maid drawn into the mess armed only with a toilet brush, is the clear audience favorite, though her eye-rolling is overworked (but less so than Linda Van Zandt's fingernails-on-chalkboard "Here Comes the Bride" refrain—one time would have been enough from the mom-of-the-bride character).
Perfect Wedding rises above its imperfections based on its sweetness and cuteness, and even with a rumpled bridal-suite bed on stage the whole time, the tale is never very risqué. It beats going to a real wedding, unless, of course, it's your own.
Perfect Wedding runs through Aug. 11 at North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. $37- $54. northcoastrep.org
A Bench in the Sun: Two elderly men join forces with a former actress to save their retirement home. Through July 21 at Broadway Theatre in Vista. broadwayvista.com
Out on a Limb: A performance of three one-act plays by emerging San Diego playwrights: Tim West's Blackout at Battery Cliff, Emily Sperling's Mermaids and Steven Oberman's A Slip from Reality. Through July 21 at Scripps Ranch Theatre. scrippsranchtheatre.org
Tribes: A deaf man raised in a hearing family meets a woman who was raised by deaf parents and is going deaf herself. Through July 21 at La Jolla Playhouse. lajollaplayhouse.com
Carnival: An orphan named Lili joins the circus and becomes the object of an unhappy puppeteer's affection. Through Aug. 4 at Coronado Playhouse. coronadoplayhouse.com
It's Just Sex: Three couples get together for some drinks, and, wouldn't you know it, the inevitable spouse swapping ensues. Through Aug. 10 at OnStage Playhouse in Chula Vista. onstageplayhouse.org
Perfect Wedding: Dude wakes up on the morning of his wedding with a hot chick lying next to him, and the bride shows up. But he and his best man have a plan. Through Aug. 4 at North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. northcoastrep.org
Freedom of Speech: Eliza Jane Schneider plays 34 characters in her own one-woman show, which chronicles her travels around the United States in an old ambulance. Presented by Moxie Theatre, it runs through Aug. 11 at Diversionary Theatre in University Heights. moxietheatre.com
The Rainmaker: A conman arrives at a Depression-era ranch where the cattle are dying and the farmer's daughter's hopes of finding a husband are fading. Through Aug. 11 at The Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. oldglobe.org
A Midsummer Night's Dream: The Musical: It's Shakespeare's classic comedy in the forest, but with pop music from the 1960s. Presented by Intrepid Shakespeare Company, it runs through Aug. 18 at San Dieguito Academy Performing Arts Centre in Encinitas. intrepidshakespeare.com
Company: A musical organized around a series of vignettes that explore the relationships between an unmarried 35-year-old man and his 10 coupled-off friends. Presented by Cygnet Theatre, it runs though Aug. 18 at The Old Town Theatre. cygnettheatre.com
Sideways: Two middle-aged guys, one who's about to be married, head to Santa Barbara wine country and find trouble. Through Aug. 25 at La Jolla Playhouse. lajollaplayhouse.org
miXtape: Generation X was torn between disillusionment and hope in this cavalcade of music from the 1980s. Produced by Lamb's Players Theatre, it runs through Sept. 1 at the Horton Grand Theatre, Downtown. lambsplayers.org
Suds: The Musical: The story of a young woman looking for love in a Laundromat frames a soundtrack of '60s hits. Through Sept. 1 at New Village Arts Theatre in Carlsbad. newvillagearts.org
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead: Tom Stoppard's existentialist play turns two minor characters in Shakespeare's Hamlet into lead characters. Through Sept. 26 at The Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. oldglobe.org
The Merchant of Venice: Shakespeare's play, about a man who borrows money to court a woman, gave us the terms "shylock" and "a pound of flesh." Through Sept. 28 at The Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. oldglobe.org
A Midsummer Night's Dream: A Greek forest is alive with fairies, magic potions and the pursuit of love in the opener of The Old Globe's summer Shakespeare Festival. Through Sept. 29 at The Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. oldglobe.org
Crime Pays: A radio game show with dastardly overtones, served up with dinner, is presented by Mystery Cafe at Imperial House restaurant in Bankers Hill. mysterycafe.net