The Wedding Speech – Theatre Review

PRINCESS Donnough delivers a simply sensational performance in The Wedding Speech at the Hope Theatre in London’s Islington.

For seventy minutes, she magnificently holds the stage as she reveals the fraught relationship between her character Rosemary and Rosemary’s mother.

Her performance is energetic, immersive, spellbinding and intimate – and she draws you into Rosemary’s world like a fisherman skilfully reeling in their catch. A work of art. A virtuoso performance.

The result? A play –  that is both funny and sad – and most of it delivered in verse. Well worth watching.

Rosemary has been asked to deliver the speech at her mother’s (second) wedding. She’s hidden herself in the toilet with a glass of bubbles to calm her nerves and practice the words she is going to deliver in an hour’s time. She’s drinking despite a pregnancy tester being by her side.

What we soon learn is that mother and daughter have issues that go back to when Rosemary and her sister were young children and left to fend for themselves. It’s a love-hate relationship, occasionally exploding into acts of near physical violence involving the likes of flying irons.

Sometimes she loves mum. Sometimes, she hates her. And she’s quite happy to opine on the chances of the wedding of mum and new husband Roy lasting long-term.

To begin with, it seems that mother is the one with all the problems. Integral to the story is the fraught holiday they spend in Nigeria. While Rosemary thrives (and finds a man, her future husband), her mother can’t deal with being away and spends most of her time locked away in her hotel room. Only Terry the goat attracts her attention – and that ends rather badly for both parties.

But the more Rosemary reveals about the past, the more you suspect that mother is not the only one with issues. Like mother like daughter. The apple, it appears, hasn’t fallen very far from the tree.

Rosemary is like a bag of rice furiously boiling away in a saucepan. The result is an explosive ending. And by that, I don’t necessarily mean an explosive wedding speech.

The Hope Theatre’s tinyness enhances the intimacy of this play. Indeed, Donnough uses this skilfully, involving the audience from the start through to the end.

As well as being 10 minutes too long, the use of recorded conversation at the play’s end slightly grates. But these are minor criticisms. Donnough is a star and based on this performance will go far. She bristles with talent.

The Wedding Speech is directed by Simone Watson-Brown and written by Cheryl May-Coward-Walker. It is a product of Purple Moon Drama.

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