Local playwright David Blue, usually known for writing and directing his (and others) gay-themed plays, steps a little outside his comfort zone in his new comedy Six Grooms, a Bride and a Gun currently playing at Studio 16 through June 14th.
That is not to say that Six Grooms doesn’t have the requisite gay content but it takes a secondary role to the central focus of serial bride Grace McPherson (Sica Leroux).
For Grace, getting married has always been something she, and more importantly her mother, have dreamed of since receiving her first wedding album as a gift for her fourth birthday. Problem is, Grace doesn’t always have the best choice in men whether it is closet-case Jeremy (Gerry Geffelmier) or emotionally crippled Josh (Dana MacInnis) or the others in between.
Since the title already provides clues to the number of grooms, it probably isn’t giving away too much to say that there are four other trips to the altar for Grace through the course of the evening, each with its own reason why it is may not going be the last.
This show works best when Leroux is on her own telling her story via monologue. Both Blue’s writing for his character Grace and Leroux’s ability to help paint the settings in the audience’s mind is the real gem for this play; I couldn’t help but think perhaps Blue would have been more successful here had he written this as a one-woman show instead.
Even if we were to believe that what we are seeing on stage are Grace’s heightened, over-the-top memories of her trips to the altar, the other characters and circumstances are written so broadly that very little really rings true and ultimately becomes nothing more than a distraction. Blue, who also does double-duty here as Director, allows his actors to go too far in a lot of places and while memories can be faulty, they don’t tend to go the excesses displayed here.
Lighting Designer Desmond Renard does his best moving between Grace’s monologues to the rest of the action on the scene although opening night saw some lighting issues with either actors missing their marks or lighting cues gone awry. And in another clue that Leroux knows what she is doing on stage, on a couple of occasions she found her light when it wasn’t quite where she thought it might be.
Dana McInnis’ set is simple enough and the all-white design allows Laura Clairmount’s wardrobe to stand out. Clairmount has to be given extra props here (no pun intended) for Leroux’s varied wedding and other dresses. And not surprisingly Leroux’s costume changes, which usually means another monologue treat for the audience, is quite effective.
While the cast and crew here give it their best efforts, the show ultimately falls a little short. Not because they are not a capable bunch, but because their characters are simply no match for what Blue has written for his character Grace and the very talented Leroux.
Six Grooms, a Bride and a Gun continues at Studio 16 (1555 West 7th Avenue) through June 14th. Tickets are available online through Tickets Tonight or by calling 604-684-2787.