Interfaith marriages are now a fact – and a way of life – in the 21st century. As the 20th century wore on, they transformed from a potentially horrifying source of shock and sometimes even a reason to mourn the participants (from a faith-based perspective) to a (usually) acceptable facet of secular coupling and life in general. That being said, it is not always perceived as a picnic even nowadays. And the picnic basket in the scenario about to be described is rife with ants in the Segal Centre’s latest achievement: a Yiddish adaptation of a two year old Broadway smash hit, Brian Hargrove’s It Shoulda Been You.
Attending the acerbic and occasionally explosive picnic, disguised as a romp of a wedding between a Jewish woman and a Catholic man, are the bride and groom themselves, as one would expect, the mothers of the bride and groom – who couldn’t be more diametrically opposed in their cultural depictions and personality nuances – and an ex-boyfriend of the bride who, with the benefit of hindsight, probably should have chosen to attend another wedding that day.
It’s a musical, it’s a comedy, it’s a romantic comedy, and it’s even a cultural anthropologist’s dream, all rolled into one. Culture clash drama has never been so musical, and lively, and uproariously gut-busting. The Segal has outdone itself this time with director and choreographer Jim White bringing this cymbal crash to the funny bone to the stage with superlative script translation into Yiddish by experts/theatre veterans/Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre co-chairs Aron Gonshor and Edit Kuper. Nick Burgess’ Musical Directorial talents are on display here as well, while the set speaks to the matrimonial mood distinctively and flawlessly by Marjolaine Provençal. Louise Bourret effectively conveys the urge to perhaps wear white and well-tailored tuxedoes as talented Costume Designer on this production.
Led by an all-star cast including Rosie Callaghan as Jenny, Marc-André Poulin as well-grizzled Wedding Planner Albert, Joanne Cutler as Georgette, Mikey Samra as Marty, and Cheryl-Ann Lilieth as Annie, the musical numbers will have you wanting to dance the foxtrot at their wedding and sing your heart out till it hurts. The climax offers a twist, but the ride itself is sheer delight and a barrel of laughs that are truly a perfect fit for our times.
There are French and English supertitles for those neither fluent nor versed in the expressive, endearing language of Yiddish. You have until June 25th to R.S.V.P. in the affirmative for the whirlwind wedding that will leave you debating whether to throw rice or a really high end life preserver.
Visit segalcentre.org for more information or call the box office at (514) 739-7944 .