Secret Bridesmaids’ Business by Elizabeth Coleman.
Directed by Amy-Louise Anderson.
Michelle Macwhirter (pictured), Kate McNair (pictured), Kate Learmonth (pictured), Virginia Leaver, David Law, Susannah Kwan.
Runs until February 23. Bookings 5532 2096 https://www.gclt.com.au/booking.php
Elizabeth Coleman’s Secret Bridesmaids’ Business has been a popular slice of theatrical chick-lit since it first premiered on the Australia stage back in 1999.
This simple scenario, beautifully executed with a bitter-sweet twist and oodles of comic charm, never feels out of time or place. The characters are familiar and enduring and the narrative premise the sort to inspire a 1001 long running conversations and debates.
There’s a straightforward set – a hotel room – and six characters in search of a simple solution to a complicated age old question as Meg (Michelle Macwhirter) prepares for her nuptials the following day.
The 30-something career girl, who is both beautiful and smart, has found her Mr. Right, James (David Law), an equally smart and handsome high flying lawyer.
She invites her two best friends in all the world, Lucy (Kate Learmonth) and Angela (Kate McNair), to be her bridesmaids.
The three young women get together in the hotel for a ‘hens night’ celebration while Meg’s overbearing wedding mad mum flits around micro-managing all the big day details.
The girls are all in a good mood but straight talker Lucy is about to drop a bomb hell as she believes dishy James has already been playing away with the seductive Naomi Bartlett (Susannah Kwan).
When Lucy quietly lets Angela know she’s just waiting for confirmation of the infidelity before spilling the beans, the more conservative friend is horrified.
Much of the play’s first half focuses on a conspiratorial hissy-fit between Lucy and Angela, while mum Colleen gets into a lather about ribbons and bows and calling cards.
Meanwhile, Meg wanders through all the drama in a state of euphoria, encouraging her best buddies to share a couple of champers and play giddy girly games like truth or dare.
The bride and bridesmaids – Michelle Macwhirter, Kate McNair and Kate Learmonth – are terrific as fun loving girlfriends, while Virginia Leaver’s over-the-top mum steals a lion’s share of the laughs.
This makes for a fun first half but the drama gets a little darker in the second act with the arrival of groom James and the wicked Naomi.
What happens next is the whole thrust of the establishing scenes but for those who haven’t seen SBB – as it’s now known – I intend to leave this review hanging at the end of act one.
Review by Douglas Kennedy