Erika Wardlow, Magdalen Hartman, & Sean Childress. Photo: Little Colonel Playhouse.
Four Weddings and an Elvis
By Nancy Frick
Directed by George Robert Bailey
A review by Brian Kennedy
Entire contents are copyright © 2019 by Brian Kennedy. All rights reserved.
For once, what happened in Vegas thankfully did not stay there. Instead, it ended up in the very funny Little Colonel Playhouse-presented Four Weddings and an Elvis.
In the play, Sandy (Erika Wardlow), a veteran of both marriage and divorce from the same person, runs a Vegas chapel, which has seen its share of marriages for love. It’s also seen its share of marriages for other reasons like revenge or a desperate attempt at reestablishing popularity.
Wardlow finds the right balance in each scene between being polite and jovial, if only for the sake of the business, and sarcasm and seen-it-all, done-it-all deadpan humor. With slight changes in mannerisms and voice, she also effectively communicates her disdain about her own back and forth marriage/divorce situation. Wardlow was fun to watch as Sandy.
The couples she meets in this chapel were also very entertaining. Two pairs, Bev and Stan (Magdalen Hartman and Sean Childress) and Marvin and Fiona (Bill Baker and Carol Palumbo) had situations that were clearly and amusingly displayed, gaining plenty of laughs from the audience of mostly older individuals. Even side characters, like Fist (Aaron Whaley), an escaped convict, were charming and delightful performances.
Of particular note was the work of Teresa Wentzel and Rich Williams as Vanessa and Bryce respectively; two way-past-their-prime stars using marriage as an opportunity to re-launch their stardom. One could tell early this matrimonial train was going off the tracks, but it was still an awesome ride. Wentzel and Williams play off each other well and reinforce each other’s own arrogance and ego, drawing the most laughs of the night. Perry Arnold as Lou, a minister applying for a job at the chapel, and Wardlow provide the right counterpoint humor to Vanessa and Bryce, leading to further laughs.
Of course, this being Four Weddings and an Elvis, there had to be someone playing the King, or at least the King’s impersonator. That fell to Gary Crockett, one of several veteran actors in this show, although he was nearly unrecognizable. First, his character was actually being named John. Second, it was the shades and his Elvis-by-way-of-Bruno-Mars wig. Third, and most importantly, it was his nearly spot-on Elvis mannerisms, singing style, and other voice inflections that allowed Crockett to be completely immersed in his role. That dedication to character mixed with nostalgia for the older audience members led too much deserved extra applause and laughter for Crockett’s character.
Little Colonel has a very funny opener to its 63rd season with Four Weddings and an Elvis. There’s something for the older crowds, and quite possibly enough one-liners and deadpan humor for some younger crowds, too.
Four Weddings and an Elvis
September 27, 28, October 3, 4, 5 @ 7:30pm
September 29 & October 6 at 2:00pm
Little Colonel Playhouse
302 Mount Mercy Drive
Pewee Valley, Kentucky 40056
Brian Kennedy is a nearly life-long Louisville resident who has performed in plays since 2004. He also wrote extensively about the Louisville theatre scene for Louisville.com and Examiner.com from 2009-2015. Currently, he maintains the theatre blog LouBriantheater. When not involved in the theatre scene, he is an avid runner, participating in 5Ks throughout the state and in southern Indiana.