“Everybody has a family and everybody’s been to a wedding,” said writer Chris Chibnall ahead of this week’s premiere of Worst Wedding Ever at Salisbury Playhouse.
And although it probably wasn’t a wedding quite like this one, there will be a little disaster or two in amongst the whole that each member of the audience will be able to pick out and identify with.
It’s peopled by everyone you’d expect – the overbearing mother, father hiding in the garden, stressed bride and bemused vicar – but they are not just stock characters.
There are reasons for all of their actions, some of which are clear at the start, others that gradually unravel as you get drawn into the dream wedding you know is going to be anything but.
Carolyn Pickles is wonderful as Liz, a mother determined her daughter will have the day the mother-of-the-bride always wanted, while Martin Hyder shows wonderful deadpan timing as her liability of a husband.
Rosie Wyatt and Rudi Dharmalingam make a sweet pair of lovebirds, drawn inevitable into a wedding day neither of them ever wanted, with Rebecca Oldfield and Lloyd Gorman providing the perfect counterbalance as the bride’s bitter and angry sister and her soon-to-be-ex husband.
Richard Hurst is brilliant as the hip, young vicar trying his best to bring some hint of religion into a makeshift marquee by the Portaloos.
And the use made of the wedding band is as inspired as it is funny.
There are a few places, particularly in the first half, where the play loses a little momentum, but the laughs still come aplenty - mixed in with the drama, tears, love and hope that go to make up the everyday world and the families in it.
Empathy and sympathy rub shoulders with hilarity and exasperation, and we can’t help but like the characters because we already know them.
“We’re a family!” shrieks Liz at one point. “No one comes out of a family unscathed!”
And the next time your mother makes some completely outlandish pronouncement that will never make sense to anyone but her, or your child has to be picked up and dusted off after some disaster you warned them was coming all along, or your sibling provokes a fury no one unrelated to you could ever inspire - think back on Worst Wedding Ever, and you might even be able to see the funny side.
* Worst Wedding Ever is at Salisbury Playhouse until April 19. Tickets and information at salisburyplayhouse.com or call 01722 320333.