Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.

At the Wedding
Studio Theatre
Review by Susan Berlin | Season Schedule

Also see Susan's recent reviews of Penelope and Avaaz

Dina Thomas and Jamie Smithson
Photo by Margot Schulman
At the Wedding, Bryna Turner's comedy now in the Milton Theatre at Studio Theatre in Washington, has seven characters, but it exists in the orbit of just one. Carlo (Dina Thomas, who successfully careens between self-destructive depression and conditional hope) is trying vainly to keep calm at the reception after the wedding of the woman she lost to a man but still loves.

The play, which runs just 75 minutes, is broken up into two- and three-person scenes that allow Carlo to interact with a variety of guests at an event where she doesn't want to be. The opening scene, where she prophesies like Cassandra to a (not seen) table of children, sets the tone.

She visits with people she knows and likes, like Maria (Holly Twyford), the bride's mother and similarly fond of drinking heavily and telling funny stories at other people's expense. (Maria's also a hoot when she dances.) Others are more antagonistic, specifically goody-goody bridesmaid Carly (Emily Kester), while Leigh (Cameron Silliman) manages to calm Carlo down as they discuss matters including love, suicide, and the imminent end of the world, and a beleaguered waiter (Jonathan Atkinson) offers comfort along with the drinks.

The characters often behave more like archetypes than actual people, to the point that another guest–Eli (Jamie Smithson), a nerdish English teacher–compares Carlo's mental state with that of the protagonist of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's epic poem "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." Director Tom Story draws out the humor, both verbal and physical, of Carlo's search for meaning in an absurd situation, but that is not really the playwright's point; perseverance, the need to keep moving forward, is.

The action takes place in various parts of the reception venue, designed by Luciana Stecconi with amusing overkill: sliding barn doors that open to reveal a wall of enormous roses, more flower swags on various pieces of furniture, and a gift table stacked with gifts in color-coordinated wrapping. Danielle Preston's costumes range from Carlo's burgundy pantsuit and bolo tie to bride Eva's (Yesenia Iglesias) sleek, radiant gown. Sound designer Jane Shaw deserves recognition for her dead-on musical selections.

At the Wedding runs through April 21, 2024, at Studio Theatre, Milton Theatre, 1501 14th St. NW, Washington DC. For tickets and information, please call 202-332-3300 or visit

By Bryna Turner
Directed by Tom Story
Carlo: Dina Thomas
Carly: Emily Kester
Eli: Jamie Smithson
Maria: Holly Twyford
Leigh: Cameron Silliman
Eva: Yesenia Iglesias
Victor: Jonathan Atkinson