A fizzy offshore reunion: Destination Wedding, a Fringe review

Destination Wedding, starring Michelle Todd, Cheryl James, Kristin Johnston. Photo supplied

By Liz Nicholls, 12thnight.ca

Destination Wedding (Westbury Theatre)

Like the drinks at a tropical all-inclusive — where you have no serious cultural obligations except buying jewelry with seashells in it and having fun — the clues keep coming in this fizzy comedy-with-a-twist by Trevor Schmidt.

Three old friends of middle years, sorority sisters of yore, have been invited to a destination wedding. Their long-time-no-see pal is tying the knot again, after untying several previous knots.

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And after a few (quite a few) margaritas), an innocuous oddity turns into a mystery that turns into a whodunnit. The details of this intriguing progression are safe with me (though for an Aperol spritzer on a Strathcona patio …). As in the best mysteries, Destination Wedding keeps you re-spooling to re-think casual throw-aways that might be clues, as the list of characters increases, and the net of possible culpability spreads wider and wider. Which isn’t the original meaning of ‘all-inclusive’, but whatever.…

Anyhow, in addition to the fun of discovering a puzzle that you don’t realize at first is one, there’s the all-inclusive entertainment value in this Whizgiggling production of seeing what three expert comic actors make of the characters. Amazingly, Kristin Johnston, Cheryl Jameson and Michelle Todd, who drink cocktails out of plastic pineapples, never leave their deck chairs. Their arrival catch-up, to the sound of waves, is a very funny cross-hatching of memories and barbs.

Like the costumes (designed by director Schmidt), the performances are a riot.  Johnston, in black, is an artist and the fiercest of the three, who has one of those steely gazes that could lift an acrylic nail off a pinky finger at 100 paces. Todd is the one who’s always taking offence: “what’s that supposed to mean?” or “I’m always the last to know….” Jameson is the dim and daffy one, in pink, always beaming, who’s always a step behind the gist of things. “Things have evolved,” she’s admonished on the subject of women taking their husband’s names. “But I haven’t!” she says brightly. Exactly.

The interplay is funny. And the circle is widened when each of the actors plays, and zestfully, another character in the story. A comedy based, like many wedding parties, on the proposition that we might not know our friends as well as we think we do is put together expertly. Larky fun.

Incidentally, you can vote for the guilty character on Whizgiggling Production’s Facebook page. The results will be revealed at the end of the Fringe.



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