Reviewed By Cody Fullbrook
Down in The Sewing Room this FRINGE, Stella is days away from getting married, but, as the name suggests, she’s turned into quite the witch (Substitute that word with something else if you like) and with unresolved feelings and secret romances, this wedding looks doomed to fail, in lively, musical fashion.
Bridezilla: A Musical Rom-Com is as pristine and rehearsed as any wedding a bride could hope for, with virtually no dead air and every line and movement hit perfectly. Above all, this is a comedy, and the expert writing, by Danielle Fynn, is laden with humorous situations and conversations, rather than puns and jokes being said at the audience. Not a minute goes by without waves of laughter rolling through the audience, except during rare, but sincere, moments of the story’s main plot in which Stella’s bridesmaid, Jasmine, handles the heartache of hiding her true feelings for the groom.
Stand out performers include Stella’s soon-to-be husband, Chase, played with sweetness and a sonorous singing voice, and Gloria, her self-absorbed mother, who fills the stage with beaming smugness and moves with such well-oiled precision I’m tempted to guess the actress was also the choreographer.
Even with a stage you could fall off in five big steps, Bridezilla never feels cramped, and songs with multiple cast members have the verve and pizazz to make you want to jump on stage to join in. One in particular, in which the groomsmen sing about women’s penchant for needless detail in weddings, “Apricot or Peach”, was a complete showstopper. Although the music sounded very “digital”, after climatizing to it, every song earned a well-deserved applause, even the ones that didn’t have a “TA-DA!” moment with the cast pausing with cheesy grins. There was even the moment all comedy writers hope for, in which the beginning of following scenes were delayed by fallout laughs and discussions from a completely engaged audience, with phrases like “That’s so true” and “Oh no! Really?!” murmuring throughout the packed crowd.
Most songs happen almost immediately after the previous finishes, with some dialogue lasting literal seconds before the accompanying 4 bar intro kicks in. Because many simply reiterate a single idea and pave over potentially plot-expanding dialogue, the entire production has a strangely paradoxical feel in which it’s a fast-paced show, with a slow-paced story, leaving its characters accidentally underdeveloped. Not only does Stella’s “Bridezilla-ness” originate from nothing, but the bride and groom share about three brief scenes together, focusing mostly on Jasmine’s secret love for Chase, acting as a wafer thing protection from the show becoming nothing more than wallowing in the bride’s 1-note cattiness. Still, Bridezilla is consistently upbeat and was even able to include a surprisingly unobtrusive B plot that pays off in a thankfully climactic and substantial way.
Bridezilla is one of the best musicals I’ve seen at FRINGE in years. While not the deepest show, even considering it’s 60-minute run time, it’s full of guaranteed laughs and bristles with tightly practiced energy. Near-perfect and well worth tolerating the stiff Sewing Room chairs.