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There Goes The Bride
a British Farce
by By Ray Cooney & John Chapman

COMPANY : Centerstage North Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : The Art Place - Mountain View
ID# 3766

SHOWING : August 05, 2011 - August 13, 2011



British comedy farce at its best! When harassed advertising executive Timothy Westerby hits his head on the morning of his daughters wedding, he awakes to find himself in the company of Polly Perkins, a 1920's flapper girl straight out of his current campaign. It soon becomes clear that no one else can see or hear her and soon the carefully planned wedding disintegrates into chaos.

Director Jerry Jobe
Stage Manager John Mistretta
Ursula Westerby Lisa Clark
Charles Babcock Brad Corbin
Polly Perkins Amy Lester
Judy Westerby Kimberley Lowe
Gerald Drimmond Murray Sarkin
Timothy Westerby John Stanier
Daphne Drimmond Gloria Szokoly
Bill Shorter Jim Wilgus
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Twits Amok
by Dedalus
Friday, August 26, 2011
Ray Cooney has written a bucket-full of farces, and Marietta’s CenterStage North has become the local “go-to” group for doing them right (i.e, fast and furious). They’ve recently completed a (literal) run of 1974’s “There Goes the Bride,” which Mr. Cooney wrote in collaboration with John Chapman. True to the Cooney formula, we have the standard farce of embarrassment – a character blithely unaware of his effect on those around him, while everyone else jumps through increasingly desperate hoops to hide what’s really going on.

In this case, it’s Timothy Westerby, father of the bride and advertising executive, balancing the shrill demands of a demanding client (a Bra salesman, of course), with the increasingly disaster-prone wedding of his daughter. Due to an untimely whack on the head, he imagines the “flapper girl” of his campaign coming to doe-eyed, clingy life. With another whack on the head, he’s sure he’s a twenties socialite himself, treating his own home like a hotel and his family and colleagues as if they were the hotel staff. When the disapproving father of the groom arrives from Australia, all Westerby breaks loose, as everyone tries to sweep the loopy loon under the rug, imaginary flapper and all.

I thought this one started off on a mis-step, with an awkward on-stage costume change (trying to remove a nightgown AFTER putting on a tight-fitting wedding dress over it) that strains credibility (even for farce) and slows the pace. Things improve a little when the marvelous John Stanier (as Westerby) arrives and his flapper vision (Amy Lester) begins dancing around the room. But, the comic potential of an hallucination is limited at best, and most of the first act comes across as more desperate writing than desperate farceur-ating.

However, when Mr. Westerby is transported back to the twenties and we’re plunged into Act Two, the play positively takes off through the stratosphere of silliness and absurdity. It doesn‘t hurt that Mr. Stanier puts on an upper-class twit accent right out of Monty Python that stirs the giggle-pot every time he opens his mouth (which, of course, he does often and inappropriately). The increasing desperation of his wife (Lisa Clark), his partner (Jim Wilgus), and his almost-dithering in-laws (Gloria Szokoly and Murray Sarkin) add to the mayhem, which is given an added boost by the blustery anger of the father-of-the-groom (Brad Corbin). Even the poor bride (Kimberly Lowe) is reduced to hiding in her room as her running mascara turns her into a raccoon.

To be fully honest, I’ve found the works of Mr. Cooney’s to be a mixed bag, many of them hitting familiar notes and melodies, with contrivances laid on thicker than barrel of clichés. Too often, when in the hands of farceurs of limited experience, these plays can be downright deadly. Here, though, once the play gets going, it is sheer delight. My mixed reaction to the opening may be more a function of an “off night” or my own limited expectations, and, to be fair, the audience seemed to eat up (Mr. Cooney is a favorite of the CSN audience base).

So, “There Goes the Bride” has gone the way of all closed farces (behind a door somewhere and up to something embarrassingly naughty). But its memory lingers still, Charlestoning its glorious way into generating a silly grin every time I think of it. Most plays should be this fortunate!

-- Brad Rudy (

Here Come the Cheers!
by playgoer
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Centerstage North's "There Goes the Bride" was not at all what I was expecting. I was expecting a British sex farce with complications involving a soon-to-be bride and groom. Here, the groom is not seen at all. The focus is not on the bride, either, but on her parents and grandparents. Her father gets hit on the head once, sees a 20's flapper come to life; gets hit on the head another time, thinks he himself is a 20's character; and eventually takes a tumble that returns him to normal.

The father of the bride, then, is the star of this show, and John Stanier plays him brilliantly. The high point is his brief period as 1920's Ralston Westerby, singing and dancing and posing with cheery good humor on every exit. He makes nice distinctions between his "normal" self and his delusional self, and between his delusional self and his 1920's self.

The mother of the bride (Lisa Clark) and her parents (Murray Sarkin and Gloria Szokoly) are given the lion's share of the funniest lines. Ms. Clark does especially well as the put-upon wife, but I know that Mr. Sarkin and Ms. Szokoly were favorites of others in the audience. Kimberley Lowe, as the bride, also does fine work, as do Amy Lester, as the 20's flapper, and Jim Wilgus, as business partner Bill Shorter. Brad Corbin, as the Australian father of the groom, doesn't come in until near the end, but he makes a positive impression too.

The set, by Chris Cerny, is a fairly standard affair with tasteful walls and plentiful doors. Costumes, supplied by the cast and Tuxedo WearHouse, seem to be of a single design. Lisa Sherouse Riley's choreography is true to the 1920's. All the components of the production are successful and coordinated, down to the splendid program photographs provided by Capas Jones. Director Jerry Jobe has pulled together a completely entertaining production, one I'm glad to have attended. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Say “I DO” to this one
by Stages4me
Saturday, August 13, 2011
A friend of mine had an extra ticket and I never pass up a chance for free theater! Cute show with some timing issues. Bit of a slow start, but once the bride’s father entered the farce was off and running (John Stanier as the dad was comic backbone of the night . . . very strong). The premise is whacky – dad gets hit on the head and sees imaginary Polly the Flapper (perky and adorable Amy Lester) putting the wedding in jeopardy. When he gets hit on the head again . . . well, it gets pretty darn crazy. Lisa Clark is convincing as the uptight mother of the bride. Murry Sarkin and Gloria Szokoly as the grandparents had some great one liners. Fun night! [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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