Playback Productions are ready to take you on a journey to the 80s with The Wedding Singer, a fun and infectious musical based on the movie of the same name.
Theatre People chatted to Leighton Irwin, who plays leading male heart throb Robbie Hart, and his trusty best mate Sammy, played by Dion Kaliviotis, about the fun and infectious show that opens at Theatre Works this week.
“I’m playing the lead role of Robbie Hart. He is a successful wedding singer, with his band “Simply Wed”. He has dreams of rock stardom, is a hopeless romantic, loyal to those closest to him, wearing his heart on his sleeve…I find Robbie quite easy to relate to, not only because of our shared passion for music (particularly rock music & the 80s). I think he is a very relatable character for many people, flaws & all”, says Irwin on his leading character.
But when he meets the waitress Julia, things start to change…but not without an abundance of drama, tears & laughs along the way!
“Sammy is essentially Joey Tribbiani (from Friends) meets Kelso (from That 70’s Show)” says Kaliviotis, playing one of Robbie’s band mates.
“A bit of a womaniser, he thinks he knows what’s going on and says things with such confidence, but often misses the point. He actually makes the most sense when his caring nature comes out. I can relate to his caring nature because one of my fatal flaws in life is being too altruistic, and I can relate his overconfidence/idiocy to various people I’ve crossed paths with in my life” he says.
Working with a company like Playback Productions, that’s fairly new to the scene, has great perks.
“There is this fresh youthful energy, drive & zest that is applied to their work, which really only benefits a show like The Wedding Singer. But we also have the added bonus, of working with a really experienced team & crew, each bringing an abundance of knowledge & skill to their respective roles” says Irwin on working with the company.
“There is a clear passion for theatre, the show itself & focus on retaining the heart of the piece & providing an enjoyable, collaborative environment for everyone”.
For Kaliviotis, the process has been fun and welcoming.
“I feel like from the time of my initial audition there was nothing but good vibes from Playback Productions. They have a lot faith in everyone, both onstage and behind the scenes. For such a young company they maintain a great deal of professionalism” he says about the company.
On the comparison between the movie and the show, Irwin and Kaliviotis agree the story works well on stage.
“I think The Wedding Singer has translated beautifully into a stage musical, one of the best in my opinion. It’s almost as if it was made to be a musical!” says Irwin.
“It retains all the great, memorable elements of the original film (including the iconic songs), as well as fleshing out the characters even further, & perfectly capturing the vibe of the 80s through its score, choreography and costumes”.
“I actually think the movie is quite bland compared to the musical”, adds Kaliviotis.
“The Wedding Singer was made to be a musical! You can’t suppress over-the-top, cheesy, random and whatever-the-hell the 80’s was into a 96 minute film; it was born for the stage. In my opinion, the musical is a lot funnier than the film”.
The Wedding Singer has been said to be classic, iconic 80s, as Hairspray is to the music of the 60s. If Irwin had to make a mixtape inspired by the show, he’d be adding anything from the bands Gun n Roses, Kiss, Air Supply, Journey, Motley Crüe, Posion, Deff Leopard… the list goes on. You can catch this energetic show at TheatreWorks in St Kilda from Friday 14th til Sunday 23rd of October.
Tickets Now Available: http://www.theatreworks.org.au/whatson/event/?id=295