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Capable cast propels A Perfect Wedding

Tim McGeever shines as put-upon best man in apt production from Pittsburgh CLO Cabaret

Capable cast propels A Perfect Wedding -
Photo courtesy of Matt Polk
Hope Anthony and Tim McGeever in The Perfect Wedding

If nothing else, we know the species will survive. Thanks to the Pittsburgh CLO Cabaret production of Robin Hawdon’s A Perfect Wedding, we are once again reminded that no matter the situation or the obstacles, straight people won’t stop having sex with one another.

It’s the happiest day of Rachel’s life; she’s getting married to Bill and it’s a lavish affair with a huge amount of pre-planning. Little does Rachel know — but we find out at lights up — Bill spent the night with another woman. (In the very hotel where the reception is being held. Men really are dogs, aren’t they?)

Waking up in bed with a hangover and a naked woman, Bill freaks out … Rachel is on her way to the hotel to begin getting dressed for the wedding. Bill and his best man, Tom, struggle to make the hotel room respectable and woman-free. But the woman, Judy, refuses to come out of the bathroom. A hotel maid, Julie, finds herself caught in the increasingly Byzantine web of lies Tom and Bill tell Rachel (and her mother!) to explain the room, their behavior and general weirdness happening around them.

As is standard in a farce of this nature, there are a lot of mistaken and misleading identities with competing objectives and slamming doors galore. Hawdon hasn’t really mastered the clockwork precision of a farce like, say, Noises Off, but this breezy, intermission-less 90 minutes passes by in a pleasant enough manner — thanks in large part to director Michael Barakiva’s ruthless focus on shaping the story and driving the pace.

This production actually opened a few weeks ago, so this exceedingly capable cast has had the chance to find its rhythms and synchronize performances. Even the two understudies I saw blended in seamlessly.

The lead character is not Bill, but Tom — and Tim McGeever seems to have been engineered for farce. His go-for-broke manner, seemingly computer-generated face and Buster-Keaton physicality centers this production, propelling it straight to the final curtain. Julianne Avolio gets to add much needed wisecreacking attitude to all this fluff as the maid Julie, while Julia Geisler and Jason Shavers (playing Judy and Bill) provide some grounding solidity. Hope Anthony does wonders with the woefully underwritten role of Rachel, and Nancy McNulty gets her laughs as the wacky mom.