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Review: The Wedding at Liverpool Playhouse ***1/2

The Wedding, Gecko’s dystopian exploration of an individual’s contract with - and role within - society, opens with a succession of happy candidates hurtling towards adulthood and marriage, casting aside their childish trappings to enter a joyful union.

Wedding dresses, wild dancing, Lohengrin, toasts and confetti are the exciting quick hit. But what if the stifling conformity demanded of the married state (and being married TO the state) isn’t the blissful happy-ever-after everyone is expecting?

What happens if you feel trapped and want to break free?

And conversely, what if you’re an outsider who will do anything to be accepted in to the community?

That’s the general premise. But this being Gecko, it’s presented in a swirl of repetitive movement, half-snatched dialogue in a myriad of tongues, and some striking tableaux in scenes which shimmer somewhere between dream and nightmare.

Meanwhile a maelstrom of wedding dress-wearing, briefcase wielding, identikit office drones is juxtaposed with a group of Arab refugees who are literally living out of a suitcase, and who yearn to belong if only society would give them the chance.

The Wedding is inventive and physically impressive. However, although on paper it’s a brisk 80 minutes, as an audience member I found myself flagging under its relentless bombardment of movement and Babelesque sound after an hour.

In the closing few minutes there’s a resolution in the conflict between individual and society.

And the show’s finale, with the entire cast pounding out their personal songs of praise, is visually and vocally powerful.

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