Is there a more enjoyable occasion than a wedding? Whether it’s that of a family member, friend or even your own, there is a unique feeling that accompanies walking into the chapel, church or courthouse and taking vows that will unite you to that special person. Mitchell Area Community Theatre, in their spring production of “Four Weddings & an Elvis” by Nancy Frick, take us all to the chapel where someone (?) is going to get married.
Directed by Terri Jacklin with assistance by Heather Adams, this lighthearted comedy is the perfect way to spend two hours. In four acts, four couples attempt to procure the services of wedding chapel owner Sandy (Valerie Marsh), an overworked, jaded veteran of the wedding biz on the Las Vegas strip. Her problems are rooted in the absence of her minister who can’t seem to pry himself away from the bottle long enough to perform a ceremony. Circumstances lead to knots being tied by an escaped convict (Robert Tople), a good friend and neighbor (Tim Goldammer), and, of course, “Elvis."
Bev and Stan (Jessica Rezac and Riley Harrington) have traveled halfway across the country to carry out the ultimate revenge wedding. Cat Erickson and Paul Wilson are faded celebrities looking to catch the eyes of the media to reinvigorate their dying careers. LizBeth Spinar and Harrrington, in a second role, play a mismatched odd couple from Nebraska who become a party of three. The final couple, for whom I will not offer a spoiler, achieve their dream of happily ever after.
Marsh has appeared in numerous ACT productions. She brings just the right notes of brassiness and business sense to Sandy. Wilson is hilarious as Bryce Cannon, former surfer spy, now faded Hollywood glam boy. His acting partner, Erickson, is the perfect diva. I particularly enjoyed Spinar’s Fiona who, although hardened by life, shows a softer side for her pen pal fiancée Marvin and for her former love, convict Fist.
Rezac conveys the difficulty of being abandoned by those she loves and Goldammer’s John, another wedding chapel owner, might be just the tonic to soothe her troubled soul. Of course, Elvis brings the life to the wedding party; the Saturday night audience roared any time he took the stage.
Jacklin’s set is a wonderland of Vegas kitsch with its ruby walls and velvet curtains. Built by Al Jacklin, Ron Hveem and cast members, it sets the perfect tone. Goldammer’s lighting design is serviceable with a fun use of “neon” and spotlights to enhance the ceremony scenes. Jacklin and Adams have costumed the characters with the right amount of glitz.
I personally know a few people who have opted for a Vegas wedding. It’s easy to make light of what has become a unique part of American culture, but in the end, weddings are about commitment, promise and love. Regardless of where it’s held or who officiates, if the dress is lace or leather and the rings are gold or gilt, the sentiment is the same: “Love me tender, love me true. Never let me go.”
The show by the Mitchell Area Community Theatre has performances Friday, April 16, and Saturday, April 17, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 18, at 2 p.m. at the Pepsi-Cola Theatre. Tickets are on sale at the theater or more information is available at 996-9137 or www.mitchellact.org.