Toronto
2 min

I do

Fuck you

GET ME TO THE CHURCH ON TIME. Jack and Jim went up the hill to fetch a gale of laughter. Credit: Xtra files

Jack And Jim’s Wedding Party is the Christian Right’s worst nightmare. It is the gay world’s good-hearted retort to those who treat family values as their own exclusive preserve, where Jack can marry only Jill, and where divorces are never made in heaven.



Actually, there’s nothing didactic about this theatrical romp that’s really a variation of Tony ‘N’ Tina’s Wedding (currently playing in the restaurant below Second City), the forerunner of all interactive weddings.



Which is not surprising because Jay Legett wrote both shows, and he’s returning to Toronto from Los Angeles to direct a diverse cast of local actors in this one.



The plot is shamelessly simple: Jack Wellesly (Alex Kane), club promoter and self-proclaimed king of nightlife, is being joined in holy matrimony to Jim Church (Marc De Oliviera), RCMP officer and ex- football star, who was engaged for eight years to childhood sweetheart Rosalie from Markham.



That’s quite enough to grease the wheels of comic anarchy, as both sides of the bridal party show that the true course of love never runs smooth. As wedding planners Maurice and Gigi Beaucoup (the Siegfried and Roy of conjugal festivities) are aided by a chorus of singing, dancing waiters and waitresses; DJ Grand Master Fab and the one-man band on steroids (Tre Strange) provide the eclectic music; the guests are in for a hilariously bumpy evening at The Church Of The Astral Womb.



Throw in Jim’s brother (a Franciscan priest), Jack’s best man (an acerbic entertainment attorney) and a wedding party that includes Daddy D (a Donald Trump type with a boy toy of his own), Sissy (the Little Mary Sunshine of suburbia), Dame (a drag godmother with bitchery in her blood) and Diva (the newest, hottest girl in town), and you’ve got a show that dovetails with a lot of current headlines.



Where Tony ‘N’ Tina’s Wedding appealed to “a more specific market,” says Jamie Baron, choreographer and co-director, “this one has a more universal appeal. Its point is that love is available to anyone – straight or gay.” To which Alex Kane, the Jack of the piece, adds: “It’s refreshing that it’s worked out in a gay context.



“It’s nice and mushy, but I think it’s a nice change. I’m sure we’ll have our critics who’ll call it a fluff piece. But we’ve fought for so long to say that we’re many different things. Gayness isn’t just one thing. We’re representing many different people in our gay community.”



Comedian David MacLean, who with his hairy, stocky heft makes a bigger-than-life Dame, sees the show as a celebration of “the real diversity of gay relationships. We have the ability to look at ourselves from different angles. The choice is open to you as to where you want to place yourself, to evaluate where you fit in. Basically, what it comes down to is to have love and express it.”



The play fills out a lean 30-page script with ad libs, improvised dialogue and business, and cabaret acts that include a version of The Nutcracker by champagne-bearing waiters on roller-skates, Diva’s singing of a Doris Day ballad and the Beaucoups’ cowboy rendition of “Stand By Your Man.”



The choreography mixes conga, disco, Fosse, ballet and tap. And patrons, who are treated like guests at the party where they are served champagne, a buffet and wedding cake, are invited to stay on for further festivities after the show.



JACK AND JIM’S WEDDING PARTY.

$59.

Opening Tue, Jun 19.

Church At Berkeley.

315 Queen St E.

(416) 969-0023.