REVIEW: The Wedding Singer, Brinkburn CA, South Shields, Until May 23

Daniel Shilling as Robbie and Nicola Stimpson as Julia.
Daniel Shilling as Robbie and Nicola Stimpson as Julia.

The sheer volume of talented youngsters in South Tyneside never ceases to amaze me.

The latest show from South Tyneside Academy of Musical Performance (STAMP) absolutely blew me away.

The troupe of teens and young adults took on the musical version of Adam Sandler’s hit 1998 film The Wedding Singer.

As one of my favourite ever films, I was dying to see how it transformed into a song-laden stage show, and I was not disappointed.

The musical takes all of the film’s greatest moments and gives them so much more.

Despite being set in the 1980s, it has a very modern feel, and the young actors were simply tremendous.

Daniel Shilling as Robbie and Amy Whitehead as Rosie.

Daniel Shilling as Robbie and Amy Whitehead as Rosie.

The set up of the audience seating was all themed around a wedding. Rather than rows of chairs, we were sat at tables dressed in decorative cloths and faux candles – a fabulous touch.

The show follows wedding singer Robbie Hart (Daniel Shilling) – an old romantic in love with love – who is left at the alter by his bride-to-be Linda (Emily Wright).

Struggling to cope with his newly-single status, he is encouraged to return to work by his bandmates Sammy (Ryan Bell) and George (Adam McKeith).

It’s there that he begins to spend more time with waitress Julia Sullivan (Nicola Stimpson), who is engaged to womanising Glen Guglia (Jack Stoker).

I laughed hysterically from start to finish and was moved by the touching storyline.

The story is a hilarious but heartwarming tale of true love and the young actors of STAMP captured its uplifting spirit perfectly.

Shilling is mightily impressive as leading man Robbie. He’s a fantastic comedy actor. His timing and delivery were spot on.

He’s backed up impeccably by Bell and McKeith, who each own their characters.

Stimpson is wonderful as Julia and has a lovely voice.

South Tyneside Academy of Musical Performance is staging a musical version of Adam Sandler's hit film The Wedding Singer.

South Tyneside Academy of Musical Performance is staging a musical version of Adam Sandler's hit film The Wedding Singer.

Stoker fits the role of bad guy Glen fantastically – you love to hate him – and the same goes for Wright in her portrayal of Linda.

Sophie Anderson also made a big impression as Julia’s cousin, Holly, and Amy Whitehead was hilarious as Rosie. The old lady that Robbie teaches to sing in the film has become his grandmother in the show and she’s a brilliant character.

Whitehead’s old lady warbling during song A Note From Grandma and her impressive dancing and back flip during Move That Thang were incredible.

Ensemble member Megan Charlton, who played multiple parts, really stood out – she was incredibly funny.

The show includes songs that you’ll recognise from the film, like Somebody Kill Me and Grow Old With You, and new tracks like Come Out of the Dumpster, Single and It’s Your Wedding Day are super catchy.

The music, performed by a six-piece orchestra and led by conductor Rhys Chambers, was lively and expertly executed.

Shilling and Stimpson’s harmonies during duet If I Told You were beautiful.

Choreography in the show is fun and energetic with flips and somersaults that wowed the audience.

With confetti explosions, a parody of the Flashdance water scene, and striking costumes and make-up, the show was awesomely 80’s.

Also look out for director and STAMP co-founder Christopher Perry’s cameo appearance as a Tina Turner impersonator – I thought I was going to pass out from laughing so hard.

The show does contain some strong language and adult themes that may not be suitable for the younger ones, but it’s not offensive and all comes off very comically.

I laughed hysterically from start to finish and was moved by the touching storyline.

The amount of talent in this group is outstanding, and each member – as well as the crew – should be applauded for their hard work and effervescent performances.

Ditch Eurovision tonight – you know we’re never going to win, anyway – and see this show instead.

The Wedding Singer runs again tonight. Click here to book tickets.

Twitter: @VickiNewmanJP