I Do: Wedding Nerves And Tears At The Hilton Hotel

By Londonist Last edited 51 months ago
I Do: Wedding Nerves And Tears At The Hilton Hotel

DANTE_OR_DIE_MAINThe Almeida Festival is coming to a close; we managed to catch the first night of I Do, part of the festival, performed at the Hilton Hotel just down the road from the Almeida itself last night.

I Do isn’t your ordinary sit-down play. The audience is split into six groups (decided, romantically, by the colour of the rose you pick out at the ticket desk) and led by an usher through six rooms, each occupied by members of a wedding party getting ready for the impending ceremony. Because the order in which you visit each room is completely random, there isn’t really a plot as such but rather a collection of scenes that work to build up the whole. During the evening, you'll stumble upon a room full of bridesmaids wrangling the bride into her dress; the bride’s mother stuffing money into envelopes; the maid of honour and best man getting frisky; the bride’s ominous father pacing the room with a letter; the groom hurriedly pulling on joggers and grabbing his bag… you get the gist.

What’s most striking about this production is the intricacy of the timing. The actors continuously slip in and out of rooms to join and then leave different scenes, which only becomes apparent after you've been to all six rooms. Each scene also finishes at precisely the same time, so the bemused audience steps out into the hallway simultaneously, exchanging smiles. This really is a clever feat of choreography, and one that gets you thinking out the box of conventional theatre.

There are times when it feels like you're watching very little, such as an old man trying to pull on a shirt or the best man going over and over a quite frankly dull speech (the script work in this play isn’t one of its prominent features), but this adds to the ‘feel’ of it all; we really are in a hotel, and this is what people genuinely do. The cast are certainly to be commended, as each of them perform the same scene six times in a row – and they have two performances a night.

So: for those after a slightly different theatre experience, or indeed for those that love weddings and a bit of family drama, I Do is ideal. Catch it quick, because it’s only on for three nights.

I Do runs until 3 August at Hilton London Islington Hotel, 53 Upper St, Islington, N1 0UY. Tickets range from £5 to £15. Visit almeida.co.uk/event/ido to find out more.

Last Updated 02 August 2013