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LA Theater Review

How Our In-Laws Ruined Our Wedding

Carolanne Marano's delightful comedy about a disastrous wedding night features a sparkling acting ensemble under the deft direction of Jackie Apodaca. Marano plays Meg, the stricken bride, whose wedding night with husband Mike (Jonathan Drahos, Marano's real-life husband) is ruined by a string of interruptions—from a swooning bellboy (Art Cardoza) to both sets of parents and the best man (Dave Bushnell).

This result is pure culture clash, as street Italian American meets rural WASP. Meg's parents, Barbara (Robin Krieger) and Lou (Steve Ryan), are a battling urban pair, and they like it that way. Barbara sprinkles her New York Italian with Yiddishisms, while Lou complains incessantly about how much everything is costing and what a bum his daughter is marrying. Meanwhile, Mike's doting mother Joanne (Willow Hale) floats around the honeymoon suite like Scarlett O'Hara, while his father Chuck (Jack Kissell) sullenly nurses a bourbon in the corner. As the two families escalate the battle of the in-laws, the tipsy best man Scotty provides a running series of foot-in-mouth observations on marriage, family, and life.

This is a classic door-slamming farce, pushing all the buttons of disappointed expectations, plot twists, and happy endings. However, it is engaging and entertaining, thanks largely to terrific performances by the two leads and great supporting work by the entire cast. Marano is delightful as the frustrated bride, and Drahos is marvelous, with the insouciant charm of a modern-day Cary Grant. When the two share the stage, the piece is at its most hilarious.

Ryan is excellent as the griping father-in-law, especially when quizzing his son-in-law, the struggling actor, about the audition process. Bushnell is wickedly funny as the drunken best man, and Hale and Krieger are perfectly poisonous as the mothers-in-law. Kissell and Cardoza round out the cast with effective performances as the long-suffering husband and romantic bellboy. While this play doesn't have a lot new to say about marriage and family, it is an entertaining theatrical diversion.

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