By Connie Bollinger
“I Now Pronounce,” directed by the New Jewish Theatre’s Edward Coffield, is a non-stop frenetic, frantic, hilarious piece of theatre.
If you’ve ever had a conversation with anyone who has participated in that emotional circus called “A Traditional Wedding,” you’re sure to hear tales of water damaged venues, vomiting grooms, rioting ring bearers and all manner of nightmare scenarios. However, this wedding of Nicole and Adam’s is a non-traditional disaster.
Director Coffield has assembled a dream cast for this production. Jessica Kadish is Nicole, the Bridezilla from hell. Her bridesmaids are Eva (Frankie Ferrari) and Michelle (Delaney Piggins).
Graham Emmons is the groom, Adam. His groomsmen are cynical Dave (Will Bonofiglio) and confused Seth (Ryan Lawson-Maeske) , who has lost his faith in marriage. Craig Neuman’s Rabbi is properly befuddled as he attempts to explain to the traditions of a Jewish wedding. His malaprops and deepening confusion are very very, very funny. When he unexpectedly re-appears, he had the audience screaming with laughter.
The three flower girls are Millie Eidelman, Lydia Mae Foss and Abby Goldstein. I don’t ordinarily enjoy children on stage or in the movies. They can be annoyingly cute and their voices usually register somewhere between grating and ear-splitting. These three lovely children are the exception. They knew their lines, they knew their blocking and their speaking voices are natural and pleasant. They are some of the best little actresses I’ve seen.
Victoria Chauvin is assistant director to Coffield and together they’ve crafted a fine show. Scenic Designer David Blake, Scenic Artist Cameron Tesson and Lighting Designer Tony Anselmo do a great job of setting the scene. Sound Designer Amanda Werre kept our ears delighted with golden oldies, and Costume Designer Michele Siler dressed everyone beautifully. Stage Managers Carolyn Ivy and Makenzie Clark did a fantastic job keeping props, actors and everything working seamlessly.
There are a lot of details I’ve deliberately left out. Tashsa Gordon-Solomon’s play has some twists and turns and surprises I don’t want to ruin for you; however, I will say that if you don’t stand up and cheer for the finale, I’ll eat my hat!
New Jewish Theater presents the St. Louis premiere of the comedy “I Now Pronounce” Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Saturdays at 2 and 8 pm, and Sundays at 2 pm through June 2. Performances take place in the Marvin and Harlene Wool Studio Theater at the Jewish Community Center, 2 Millstone Campus Drive in Creve Coeur. For more information: www.newjewishtheatre.org or call 314-442-3283.