Predictable ‘Maggie’s Getting Married’ is still amusing

A trickle-down case of pre-wedding jitters affects every member of the stressed-out Duncan clan in Central Alberta Theatre’s production of Maggie’s Getting Married.

A trickle-down case of pre-wedding jitters affects every member of the stressed-out Duncan clan in Central Alberta Theatre’s production of Maggie’s Getting Married.

This somewhat predictable, but still amusing Norm Foster comedy, which opened Friday night at City Centre Stage in downtown Red Deer, starts on the eve of bride-to-be Maggie’s wedding.

Nicey-nice Maggie (Kathleen Smith), who still lives with her parents at age 29, is fretting about her sexpot sister, Wanda, potentially stealing her fiancé — as she did all her boyfriends since high school.

The fact that her groom-to-be (Gord Phillips) is a rather boring real estate agent named Russell doesn’t lessen Maggie’s anxiety at all — go figure.

Father-of-the-bride Tom (Craig Scott) begins brooding about his own mortality as he ponders his daughter’s pending nuptials.

Since his family history is rife with relatives who croak in middle age, Tom suspects his youngest daughter is marrying a gold digger who’s just waiting for him to kick the bucket before he moves in on her inheritance.

Meanwhile, mother-of-the-bride Cass (Laura Geelen) is unhappily diverted by Wanda’s new “heathen” of a boyfriend.

She discovers that Axel the actor is involved in a racy stage adaptation of Peter Pan that she dubbs “Peter Porn.” Cass worries Axel (Konstantin Cody Vorosmarty) will offend the officiating reverend, causing him to walk out before the ceremony begins.

And sister-of-the-bride Wanda (Dawn Hastie), well, she has the Mother of all Worries.

When the maid of honour finally meets the man her sister is going to marry, she believes that she has, um, shall we say, previous and rather intimate knowledge of the same groom-to-be.

Can the Duncan clan resolve all their various anxieties and move forward with the blessed union?

Anyone who’s seen the umpteen Foster comedies CAT has put on over the years will know the answer to that one, but why not see the play anyway?

This fast-paced production, directed by Judith Moody, contains a few laugh-out-loud jokes, and has the potential to serve up even more once cast members loosen up and further hone their comic timing.

While some actors in Maggie’s Getting Married are fairly new to theatre, by the end of the first act they managed, at moments, to give the impression of being a family.

In other words, they relaxed enough in each other’s presence to convey the kind of casualness that’s naturally displayed to those we are closest to.

The cast could go further in this direction, and no doubt will over the course of the play’s run.

Particular stand-outs are Vorosmarty as Axel, who delivers the comedy’s funniest line in reference to why powerful women make him squirm, and Phillips, who as a real-life real estate agent, is able to give square Russell the gift of the gab that makes him oddly endearing.

While Scott has been in a number of previous CAT plays, Tom is his best role yet.

As Maggie’s dad he displays a warm humour — and even pulls off a tender moment, as Tom struggles with sending the more innocent of his daughters off with a man he doesn’t really know.

Lastly, good work, CAT set crew. You have really risen to the challenge of filling the larger stage at the new venue. (There’s even a starry night sky visible through the Duncan family’s kitchen windows).

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

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