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Wedding Secrets

a Comedy
by Joe Starzyk

COMPANY : Lionheart Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : College Street Playhouse
ID# 5032

SHOWING : February 03, 2017 - February 12, 2017



Bill and Susan are a young couple who impulsively decided to get married soon after they started dating. To save their families from the shock, they tell their families that they are only engaged. As they bring the two families together so that everyone can meet, our two protagonists learn that their secret is not the only piece of information that’s being withheld from everyone else.

With everything from separation to financial troubles, characters suffering menopause, and even Irish revolutionaries, it’s safe to say that "Wedding Secrets" brings a lot of common, and not so common, familial issues to light. The production at Lionheart will be the show’s Georgia premier, meaning that "Wedding Secrets" has yet to be performed in the state. Lionheart is excited and honored to be the first stage to produce the show, written by Joe Starzyk.

Director Tanya G Caldwell
Samantha Heather Kapp
Dan Jerry Knoff
Joan Marla Krohn
Robert Devlin Joseph McLaughlin
Betty Devlin Debbie McLaughlin
Susan Rebecca Winker Spring
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


Farcical Fun Is No Secret
by playgoer
Monday, February 13, 2017
Joe Starzyk’s "Wedding Secrets," the 2012 winner of the McLaren Memorial Playwriting Competition, interweaves five love stories that take place as a young couple arrives at the groom’s parents’ house for an engagement dinner weekend. They’ve had a whirlwind courtship, and the groom’s mother is a bit bent out of shape. She tries to sabotage their relationship. But she and her husband have their own relationship problems, as do the brides’ parents, the bride’s sister, the bride’s mother’s sister, and the groom’s mother’s brother. Since this is a comedy, all the problems work themselves out as they should.

Set design by Tanya Caldwell, Tim Scruggs, Carla Scruggs, and Jason Caldwell makes good use of the space. The pastel green and purple walls flow artistically into various hallways, and the dining table stage right and the living room furniture stage left work nicely to provide seating for the large cast. Ms. Caldwell’s blocking keeps everyone in sight at all times.

Gary White’s lighting design ably suggests the daytime and nighttime scenes, with a nifty lightning effect through the curtained window. Bob Peterson’s sound design fits the play well, although the volume was too low at the performance I attended. Props by Glory Hanna and costumes by Rebecca Knoff and Tina Barnhill populate the play quite naturally.

Performances are what really count in a farce like this. Lionheart regulars fill many of the major roles, and they are all at the top of their game. Joe McLaughlin creates a likeably conflicted father of the groom, while his real-life wife Debbie gives a nice barbed edge to her portrayal of the groom’s mother. Jerry Knoff and Marla Krohn do fine work as the bride’s parents, and Heather Knapp (Mr. Knoff’s real-life daughter) invests her role as the bride’s sister with tons of comic teen-age energy.

Newcomers to the Lionheart stage are more of a mixed bag. Ryan Shepard is stiff as Ms. Knapp’s love interest, and Ryan Ricks and Rebecca Winker Spring certainly look the part of a lanky couple in love, but don’t come across as totally natural in their roles, with Mr. Ricks’ lack of projection a particular problem. Brittany Walker is more successful as the bride’s aunt (even resembling Ms. Spring), and Tina M. Barnhill seems to be having a blast portraying four minor roles. The real standout, though, is Raleigh Wade as Joey, a man who takes on the persona of the lead character of whatever TV show or movie he has just viewed. It’s a role that requires comic timing, leading man looks, and virtuosic command of accents. Mr. Wade delivers on all counts.

"Wedding Secrets" has a lot of plot threads flowing through it, and going gets a little slow in parts of the first act. Some relationships are given relatively short shrift, with the bride’s parents in particular moving from estrangement to rekindled romance in little more than a heartbeat. But the whole show goes down easy, and Ms. Caldwell has directed a comedy that gets plenty of laughs and provides plenty of entertainment. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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