The NCSU Summer TheatreFest began this weekend with Ray Cooney and John Chapman’s There Goes the Bride at Titmus Theatre. As part of the annual festival, three plays will be presented within the span of a month, with three different casts, crews, and directors. Allison Bergman has directed the first show, delivering a wonderfully timed comedy about the emotional rollercoaster of hosting a wedding. The lavish set, designed by John C. McIlwee, is complete with orchids, two champagne chillers, wedding favors, a phone that actually rings, and Fabergé eggs. Em Rossi’s costuming is equally beautiful, from satin slippers to three piece suits and top hats. Excusing some nebulous British accents, it seemed as though nothing could have gone better opening weekend of this play.

On the morning of his daughter’s wedding, Timothy Westerby (Mark Filiaci) is not only overwhelmed by flower orders and in-laws arriving, but, after a nasty bump on the head, he has become flabbergasted by the appearance of Polly Perkins (Sarah Lynn Winter), a 1920s flapper that only he can see. The chaos ensues – as do the hallucinations – and compounds until it appears that the wedding may not happen at all!

Filiaci was at times delightfully scattered, as one expects of the father of the bride-to-be, as well as charming once his character had been “set free” of his worries. Filiaci and Winter made a great pair, with snappy choreography and singing that sold the spirit of the 1920s.

The raunchy, clever wit that carried through the entire show was perpetuated by the impeccable timing and physical comedy of Mrs. Ursula Westerby (Susannah Hough), Dr. Gerald Drimmond (Danny Norris), and Daphne Drimmond (Kathy Norris). The stereotypical overbearing wife, “eccentric” father-in-law, and nagging mother-in-law were spot-on and greatly appreciated by newlyweds like myself as well as veteran marriage partners. Norris stole the stage – whenever he was on it – with his goofy physical comedy and left the audience in hysterics.

The compounding puns, misunderstandings, and wordplay led to an exhilarating farce that provided a miraculous caricature of the typical wedding: the father of the bride’s anxiety, the angry and clueless father of the groom (T. Phillip Caudle as a wonderful Aussie Charles Babcock), the sobbing bride (Allison McAlister), and the mother of the bride just trying to hold everything together.

There Goes the Bride continues June 4, 7-8, 11, and 13 at 7:30 PM and June 1 at 2:00 PM. The next production will be Walking Across Egypt, opening June 5 at 7:30pm. For more details please view the sidebar.