It is absolutely incredible how you can step through the doors of an auditorium and find yourself in the midst of a delicately decorated wedding party hall. Everyone in the audience has their camera phones out to take photos of the reception hall. The bride and groom are going around greeting their guests, the tables are laid out with snacks and you are offered cake before you’ve even had time to find a seat. If that isn’t enough to get you in the wedding mood, how about a bit of Bruno Mars’s ‘Marry You’ or maybe some of ABBA’s ‘I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do’?
You are invited to Clare and Arjun’s wedding reception to be a guest among their friends and family. Clare is a country girl with big dreams for her father’s farm and Arjun is a city boy, just trying to keep his head down and his bride happy. This fast-paced comedy is both the best and the worst wedding you could ever attend, but one thing is for sure – it is not a wedding you are likely to forget quickly.
The mishaps and events of the wedding are based on people’s real-life experiences of mixed marriages, and what happens when you drag city inhabitants out of their habitat and into the countryside. There is no stone left unturned as the cultural, rural vs. urban, generational and gender divides are explored throughout the show.
The four actors play all the guests as well as the bride and groom. Everyone can identify with at least one of the guests, whether it is the overly flamboyant Madhu or the drunken best man Tyrone. The only questionable character is Big Frank, a millionaire businessman who seems to think that a wedding is the right time to fly back to the UK to discuss business with the father of the bride, Jack (Graeme Rose). You will definitely recognise the frightening mother: “I’m your mum – who are you more scared of?” There are some very surprising revelations, too.
It is probably one of the most fun weddings you will ever attend as a guest, as the comedy is just so brilliant. Knowing that these stories are based on real events makes everything all the more hilarious. Sure, there are some awkward moments where you wonder whether this would actually ever happen in a wedding, but even the unbelievable parts find a way to be extremely funny.
My Big Fat Cowpat Wedding played at the Southbank Centre until 24 May. For more information, see the Southbank Centre website.