When a love-struck bachelor moseys up to the altar and utters the words “I do,” he better mean it.
Although things can get a bit complicated when that same faithful man who has stood by those words for decades has to explain to his beloved partner that the whole thing has worked better in theory than it has in practice.
Confused? Don’t be. Playwright J.B. Priestley’s hysterically funny tale about three did-they-or-didn’t-they knot tiers admirably connects all the dots in an amusingly warm snapshot of emotionally distraught couples suffering from wedded uncertainty.
It’s a story fit to be played and played fittingly well in the Royal George Theatre where we meet Joseph Helliwell (Thom Marriott), Albert Parker (Patrick McManus) and Herbert Soppitt (Patick Galligan). They may not be perfect husbands but the trio is in exceptionally reputable standing within the community.
And then there is Maria Helliwell (Claire Jullien), Annie Parker (Catherine McGregor), and Clara Soppitt (Kate Hennig). They may not be perfect wives but there’s no measuring their infinite patience and absolution for their husband’s shortcomings.
The mood, however, swings rapidly when the validity of their marriage certificates is called into question on this 25th anniversary gathering. Worse than this, it’s anyone’s guess if complacency can ever return to their holy union.
Director Joseph Ziegler’s ‘toast to marriage’ is concentrated silliness thanks to a cast fully committed to the comedy aesthetic. The leading men are barely recognizable in their respective roles packing just enough Monty Python rhythm into the text to keep the laughs rolling merrily along.
If Walmart sold Marriage Success kits, we’d all be lining up overnight for the door crasher event. Until then we leave it to relationship observers like J.B. Priestley to help us sit back and enjoy the view.
Review by Steven Berketo