Whether or not audiences enjoy Hale Centre Theatre West Valley’s production of FATHER OF THE BRIDE to the fullest possible extent is likely dependent on their expectations.
Audiences shouldn’t expect the uproarious slapstick of the 1991 Steve Martin movie. The humor of the play is much more similar to the situational comedy of the 1950 Spencer Tracy movie. They also shouldn’t expect the bells and whistles that usually accompany shows at Hale Centre Theatre in West Valley. This production is more understated than most.
What audiences should expect is a snapshot of family life in 1964 that is full of heart and insightful commentary on timeless facets of human nature. Some things—like the craziness of planning a wedding and the emotions it brings to the surface—never change.
FATHER OF THE BRIDE, by Caroline Francke, places a magnifying glass on a couple who are preparing to be married. How will the change affect their relationship with each other and with their families, especially her father?
The main characters are competently brought to life by the lead actors, including Mark Knowles as Mr. Banks (double cast with David Weekes), Rebecca Nibley as Mrs. Banks (double cast with Jennifer Parker Hohl), Madeline Weinberger as Kay Banks (double cast with Kylee Bird), and Derek Smith as Buckley Dunstan (double cast with Adam Dietlein).
A dash of joie de vivre is added by the boisterous Banks sons, Ben and Tommy, who are played by Craig Willey (double cast with CJ Strong) and McArthur Cottam (double cast with Spencer Goodwin), respectively.
The static set by Kacey Udy is reminiscent of sitcom sets from the 1950s and 1960s. It includes permanent-looking elements such as carpet and brick that make it seem as if the audience is looking into an actual home from the era. The vintage props and costumes (by Kimberly Fitt) add realistic detail to the proceedings.
FATHER OF THE BRIDE plays through May 26, 2012. For tickets, call the box office at 801-984-9000 or visit www.halecentretheatre.org.
Photo Credit: Mark Knowles (Mr. Banks) and Madeline Weinberger (Kay Banks)