There are two shows in Meet Bridezilla performed by two different writer-actresses playing multiple characters. While their subject matter is the same and they both perform on a practically bare black stage, they have very different ways of tackling their topics.
The first play, Obliged, traces the lead-up to a momentous wedding day. Megan Grano is dressed in a virginal white top, pants and shoes, but she’s no bashful bride. Her protagonist, Maureen, screams and gushes her way from her engagement through to her marriage and the resulting fallout of thank you notes.
Grano picks up on many of the bizarre little details of wedding plans to great comic effect. For example, the organizers of a $100,000 reception only offer chicken or “beef meat” as culinary options and charge $6 a tranche for cake slicing.
To bring her points across, Grano uses funny characters as mouthpieces for her thoughts and fantasies. There’s the friend roped into organizing the ceremony, praising Maureen to her face and complaining vociferously behind her back. There’s the father of the bride, who can’t remember the groom’s name. Most touchingly of all there’s Maureen’s Grandma, flying first class to the wedding because of her knees, reminiscing about her own cheap and cheerful wedding that led to a long-lasting marriage.
With these and other characters, Grano gets her point across — weddings are wasteful, brides get ripped off, and a handmade gift is much more thoughtful than an expensive, heavy, and ultimately useless ornament. Grano knows when to pause for comic effect and she always imbues her roles with some of her own wry knowingness.
Kimmy Gatewood, on the other hand, lets her characters take over and at times makes her face almost unrecognizable. Her show is The Engagement, the tale of a bride who’s ditched at her rehearsal dinner — the groom doesn’t even have the decency to “wait ’til the big day to make it more dramatical.” The ditched damsel screams twice, runs to the coatroom and won’t leave. It’s up to her family to coax her out.
Using a few jackets, a scarf, and a hat, Gatewood expertly transforms herself into a nasal host, a ghetto-talkin’ little sister, a South American revolutionary stepmom, and even the family dog. With loads of energy and imagination, Gatewood keeps the story moving quickly, never lingering too long in one role. Her message isn’t as strong as Grano’s and at times neither is her voice, battling the AC and bad acoustics of the American’s largest space. But the humorous tone never falters, with jokes arising from recognizable types of people without lampooning them in an unkindly fashion.
Unsurprisingly, women in the audience got a particular tickle out of the observational comedy. And in a world where $10,000 wedding gowns are not uncommon, this two-for-one special is highly recommended for brides to be.