Weddings can certainly provide fertile ground for theatrical comedies, and nowadays there’s a new twist: a wedding between two men instead of a man and a woman, doubling the number of problems that can be expected.
Such is the case with playwright Donna de Matteo’s Our Son’s Wedding, now playing at Florida Studio Theatre’s Gompertz Theatre. As if it weren’t complicated enough bringing any couple to the altar, this wedding is fraught with extra emotional baggage.
We don’t meet the couple getting married, Michael and David (Michael Kevin Baldwin and Gil Brady), until well into the play; most of the first act is spent getting to know Michael’s parents, a plumber from the Bronx, Angelo (Paul D’Amato), who’s not happy to be at the wedding at all, and his wife, Mary (Marina Re), who seems to have everything under control but has a curious tendency to wrap everything in her suitcase in plastic and to spray Lysol around the Ritz-Carlton hotel room where they’re staying. Since emotions are running high, and they’re Italian-American, anyway, the dialogue and the action are pitched pretty much to the fever point for much of the show, with Angelo and Mary arguing over everything from whether they’re technically the parents of the bride or the groom to long-buried secrets related to a significant Little League game in Michael’s past and some extramarital trysts on their part.
It starts out funnily enough, and when Michael enters the room, distraught because his fiancé forgot to add his favorite purple flowers to the wedding décor, Baldwin’s scrunched-up face and attempts to get tough with his Freudian analyst mate provide more laughter. But in Act II things do momentarily turn serious, as we see what cost coming to terms with his homosexuality has really had for this family.
D’Amato and Re are very convincing as a long-married couple, and Baldwin and Brady are charming in their brief scenes together. But there’s no denying that there’s a lot of shouting in Our Son’s Wedding—perhaps authentic enough considering this family’s background, but it does get a little tiresome, particularly as some of the plot strands take a while to unravel through some fairly convoluted dialogue. It’s bound to leave the actors hoarse, and may leave the audience a little restless, too.
Still, there are laughs in the show, and many parents who’ve been through the pre-wedding jitters will be able to relate. Our Son’s Wedding continues through Aug. 7; call 366-9000 or go to floridastudiotheatre.org.