Number 9 Review: The Wedding Singer 2019

PAP Productions Limited is the established vehicle of three creatives : Paul Lawton, Amy Lawton and Paul Wilson since 2014 whose cumulative talent is the company’s production and directorial team whose manifesto is to produce high quality, amateur theatre for the enjoyment of the public . Any monies made are reinvested to raise production values for next year’s more ambitious show.

Based on a movie starring Adam Sandler as the lead, the story is set in 1985 and a New Jersey wedding singer gets jilted at the alter by his own fiancée and wreaks revenge and deals with his angst by wreaking havoc at the weddings he consequently sings at . He meets a newly engaged waitress engaged to a Wall Street jerk. The Wedding Singer, Robbie played with charisma by Nick Ward realises he has feelings for the waitress, Julia ( Kate Shaw), and his new focus is on getting the girl before she marries Glen (Sam Maurice) a prat of the highest order.

PAP are blessed with a young, enthusiastic, versatile and talented cast and ensemble who filled the stage with energy and style in the big wedding party scenes, interacting well and adding to the action and scene-setting.

Robbie’s 3-piece band Sammy (Liam Bunka and John Dean) are terrific foils to Robbie’s pathos. Particularly, show-stealing Dean’s ‘ Boy George-esque’ cameo as keyboard player and artiste who stole the Jewish Bar Mitzvah scene with his flamboyant, hilariously camp, hammy turn.

The book itself is a little flimsy and doesn’t have enough substance to truly enthral with its plot but what it lacks in plot it makes up for with its entertainment value which the cast delivered in abundance, a show which oozed high quality vocal performances, great choreography and well executed moves by a cast who had been clearly directed.

The object of Robbie’s affection, the naive Julia (Kate Shaw) had a lovely presence and a playful charisma with a beautiful singing voice which worked in excellent counterpoint to Bethany Heywood’s conniving cousin and (slightly slutty) fellow waitress Holly. Heywood, never failing to deliver, gave a soaring end to act one with her ‘Saturday Night’ Rock-chick number. That girl is dynamite and a joy to watch.

Robbie’s grandma, a feisty octogenarian was the comedy highlight of the first act with her vibrating bed and pointed questioning of her grandson on the night before his  jilted ) nuptials. The grandma Rosie played with great fun and physical energy by Kat Bond made good business of a cameo which had the audience in stitches in her leotard/ aerobics combo and her ditty to the jilting bride, Linda.

Some sensitive direction from director Paul Wilson and he really exposed Nick Ward and Kate Shaw’s tenderness in the later scenes as Robbie tries to sabotage her ill-fated Vegas wedding to the awful Glen! The Vegas wedding scene was hilariously funny with the fake superstars in attendance. Such great attention to costuming. Taking us all back to the ’80s with the big hair, shell-suits, neon and plastic beads and seriously dodgy fashion sense. Every performer had a very well thought out costuming plot which they’d accessorised to the max. Holly’s outfits particularly were out of this world.

The femme fatale, Linda (Annabelle Taylor) who jilts Robbie; returns in act two to make a failed attempt to win him back by seducing him whilst drunk. Her exotic dancing and lithe moves were amazing. She lacked a little vocally but more than made up with it with a stunningly unselfconscious performance of sluttiness which most performers would shudder away from. Really well done!

Finally, the villain, two-timing Wall Street wannabe tycoon, Glen. The one we loved to hate who as deserved got his comeuppance. Sam Maurice oozed like slime with his cocky, self-assured, self-importance like a tub of grease. A real performance of note with some excellent vocals to match. He looked and acted the part perfectly.

A really enjoyable, light-hearted love story with a real, feel-good vibe which the audience throroughly enjoyed. Visually flawless and vocally excellent but a slightly thin storyline which slowed the action at times. PAP Productions yet again produced a quality piece of amateur theatre with the most abundantly energetic cast in the North West.

Reviewer – Kathryn Gorton 
on – 31/10/19

North West End Review: The Wedding Singer 2019

It’s 1985, and rock star wannabe, Robbie Hart, is New Jersey’s favourite wedding singer. He’s the life of the party until his own fiancée leaves him at the altar. Shot through the heart, Robbie makes every wedding as disastrous as his own. Enter Julia, a winsome waitress who wins his affection. As luck would have it, Julia is about to be married to a Wall Street shark, and, unless Robbie can pull off the performance of a decade, the girl of his dreams will be gone forever.

I will be honest, the story is not very inspiring and the music isn’t very memorable, but it is the energy and talent on stage at Hyde’s Festival Theatre tonight that makes this show very watchable indeed. Nick Ward leads this exceptional cast as The Wedding Singer, Robbie Hart. Ward owns the stage which he is on for the majority of the show and gives, for me, an award winning performance.

Every leading man needs a leading lady, and for this show Ward has three! Annabelle Taylor certainly makes an impression as Linda who jilts Robbie via a letter at the altar. Taylor’s vocal and dance ability shines through in this role. Kate Shaw plays Julia with a measured approach and has created a totally believable character with some superb vocals.

The third and final woman in Robbie’s life is Rosie, his Grandmother played by the amazing Kat Bond. This gift of a comedic role was greeted with the biggest laughs of the night from the audience, both the keep fit routine and the rap in act 2 were comedy genius.

There was not one weak link in this sizeable cast, at times filling the small stage at Hyde to capacity. Other noteworthy performances came from Sam Maurice as millionaire sleaze Glen and powerhouse vocalist Bethany Heywood playing Holly.

A hard working stage crew should also be commended in keeping the shows pace flowing throughout with many scene changes. Also the sound team have done an amazing job, probably the best I have heard at the Festival Theatre.

The PAP team, Paul Lawton (MD), Amy Walker (Choreographer) and Paul Wilson (Director) have clearly had a ball creating this high energy show which sends you home with a smile on your face. Given the chance and I’d return to see this show again in a heartbeat.

Reviewer: Paul Downham

Reviewed: 30th October 2019

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★

North West End Review: Little Shop of Horrors 2015

Despite attending theatre productions for the last 30 odd years I am embarrassed to say up until tonight I had never seen Little Shop of Horrors. A shocking admission I know but on reflection it was nice walking into a theatre with no pre conceptions, or anything to compare what I was about to see with. And I spent the whole time driving home asking myself how this musical has passed me by for so long.

On the face of it this is a simple show for amateurs to perform with only 7 people on stage. However when you add the complexity of not only a plant that has to grow during the show, it is also required to sing and consume human beings things can get a little tricky. PAP Productions have embraced all these challenges with style and produced a beautiful show to both look at and listen to.

So if you’ve never seen Little Shop before like myself, the story. Meek flower shop assistant Seymour (Nick Ward) pines for co-worker Audrey (Hannah Davenport). During a total eclipse, he discovers an unusual plant he names Audrey II, which feeds only on human flesh and blood. The growing plant attracts a great deal of business for the previously struggling store. After Seymour feeds Audrey’s boyfriend, Orin (Luke Grimshaw), to the plant after Orin’s accidental death, he must come up with more bodies for the increasingly bloodthirsty plant.

PAP have gathered one of the strongest casts I have seen in a long time led by Ward and Davenport. Both have an amazing stage presence and work so well together. Their vocals also are note perfect throughout and their comedic timing razor sharp.

Grimshaw as Orin puts in the performance of the night as the deranged boyfriend of Audrey. The scene leading up to the interval in the dentist surgery with Ward was ridiculously well done, and you could see the visible fear on the audience faces as Grimshaw leapt into the audience and roamed around the stalls.

Narrative and backing vocals comes from three street urchins Ronette (Bethany Heywood), Crystal (Emma Ramsden) and Chiffon (Nickie Simms). All three harmonise stunningly together as they pop up at various intervals to help the story progress. Whilst it is hard to single one out as better than the other, I have to say Heywood’s riffs were something else altogether.

Flower shop owner Mushnik played by Mathew Rigby also gives an assured and confident performance. Matthew Hutchinson and Joseph Gallogly combine to bring Audrey II to life from a young sapling through to fully grown ogre, a real audio and visual treat.

John Redfern and Paul Wilson have designed a great practical set which moves to create various scenes. Redfern is also responsible for the sound which in all honesty was a little loud on opening night, the excellent live band led by Paul Lawton drowning out the cast vocals slightly on some of the rockier numbers. Amy Walker provides choreography albeit slightly limited in quantity on this production due to its nature.

Director Paul Wilson has ensured that Little Shop of Horrors is a fun musical with a stunning cast and in the hands of the PAP Productions team guaranteed to be a sure fire hit.

The show plays until Saturday at Hyde Festival Theatre and tickets can be found at

Reviewer: Paul Downham

Reviewed: 10th November 2015