The decade of big hair, bold fashion and city slickers making serious money is brought to glorious life this week in a new show by an award-wining Oxford theatre group, writes Sam Henney.

For their latest production, the Musical Youth Company of Oxford have brought to the stage musical comedy The Wedding Singer.

The show, on all week at The Theatre in Headington, tells the story of Robbie Hart, New Jersey’s number one wedding singer and the life and soul of every party – until his own fiancée stands him up at the altar.

Bitter and broken, Robbie begins to make every wedding as disastrous as his own until a warm-hearted waitress named Julia intervenes. The only trouble is, Julia’s about to be... you guessed it... married.

The original The Wedding Singer film was released in 1998. It famously starred Adam Sandler as the down-on-his-luck wannabe rocker and Drew Barrymore as the warm-hearted waitress engaged to the wrong guy.

Promoted with the tag line “Before the internet. Before cell phones. Before roller-blades”, the 80s nostalgia movie was a hit when it opened, with critics describing it as “sweet, funny and beguiling”.

Eight years later, The Wedding Singer was adapted into a Broadway musical, making its debut in April 2006.

Sticking with the original storyline and accompanied by great new music, the show picked up five Tony Award nominations including Best Musical, Best Original Score and Best Choreography.

The show is an obvious choice for MYCO’s exuberant cast who had a lot of fun learning songs and choreography that pays tribute to era-defining music videos such as Footloose and Thriller.

The oldest cast member was born in 2000, so the show has been a voyage of discovery as the teenage cast say goodbye to Harry & Megan, Netflix and Bluetooth technology, and hello to the era of Charles & Di, Smash Hits and Casio watches.

REVIEW: The Wedding singer celebrates 80s in brilliant style

MYCO has 51 cast members from local schools and colleges, and many hope to pursue a career on stage. Older cast members are juggling a demanding rehearsal schedule with GCSE and A-level studies, however, their sense of excitement and dedication is palpable.

Amber Potter, who plays the lead role of Julia, describes what it’s like to prepare for a big show: “Before we started, I’d didn’t know much about the Wedding Singer and wasn’t sure what to expect,” she says.

The Oxford Times:

“However, fast forward through a few months of rehearsals, costumes fittings and photoshoots, and I couldn’t have been more excited to perform!

“The energy is electric and we’re all loving the 80s vibe.

“There’s energetic dance routines, a wonderful combination of songs and a hilarious script.

“My character, Julia Sullivan, is the girl next door. She’s a hopeless romantic who is desperate to someday be the bride and not just a waitress. I’ve really enjoyed bringing her character to life.’

The show is directed by Nicola Blake, who herself joined MYCO as a teenager in 2002. Cast as the Dorothy in Wizard of Oz, the experience sparked a lifelong love of musical theatre. She went on to study at the Guildford School of Acting and now leads the Performing Arts Course at Abingdon & Witney College.

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Nicola said: “It has been an honour to work with the company and to be able to watch the comedy and heart unfold before my eyes, on and offstage.

The Oxford Times:

“MYCO is an extremely professional group of youngsters that has brought incredible energy to the rehearsal process, particularly when learning iconic era-defining dance moves such as the ‘worm’ and the ‘running man’!”

MYCO celebrated its 30th anniversary last year and its members have earned a well-deserved reputation for creating magic way beyond their years.

Ever professional and entertaining, The Wedding Singer is a great opportunity to see the talented company in action.

  • The Wedding Singer is at The Theatre at Headington, Headington School, until Saturday at 7.30pm (Sat matinee at 2.30pm)
  • Box office: myco.org.uk