How To Be On Stage In Muriel’s Wedding: The Musical

Muriel’s Wedding: The Musical is coming back to Sydney at the Lyric Theatre from June 28th, but what you might not realise is you can actually go on stage and be part of the performance with an On-Stage Wedding Guest ticket – but what exactly does that involve? I found out (the fun way) during its first season here…

One of the ticket options of the Muriel's Wedding: The Musical gives you to the chance to be an on stage wedding guest - but what's it like?

How I ended up as a Muriel’s Wedding – On Stage Wedding Guest

The message came on Facebook from my friend… ‘I’ve got a spare ticket for Muriel’s Wedding tonight do you want to come?’ it said. As I was typing, yes, the second bit arrived…’You do kind of have to be on stage for a few minutes.’

As normal the ‘that sounds fun’ bit of my brain was typing faster than the ‘hang on what are you letting yourself in for?’ bit could stop me – and so I said yes. I honestly had no idea what I was letting myself in for – for all I know Muriel could have gone all Game of Thrones and I was signing up for a wedding wipeout scene! Thankfully, I survived.

What does being an On Stage Wedding Guest involve?

I was told to turn up at the theatre an hour before show time, wearing something suitably wedding-guesty – tempting as it was to buy a hat, I just had on one of my normal tea dress outfits! You’re also not allowed to wear open-toed shoes so I was the sad wedding guest in plimsolls.

At this point, we had a briefing where we found out exactly what was involved in our big moment. There were eight of us in all and, as the name of the ticket suggests, the deal was that we would be ‘guests’ at the big wedding scene where Muriel marries hunky swimmer Alexander.

Our job was to quickly walk onto the stage while the stage curtain was down and sit in some pews. We then just had to ‘act’ like normal guests at a wedding and look animated – chatting, laughing, standing as Muriel came down the aisle, cooing at her fabulous wedding dress and pretending to take pictures with our phones (sadly no real ones are allowed which is why there’s no gleaming selfie of my Sydney stage debut).

At this point, I started to wonder what on earth I had let myself in for – I hated drama at school and they had just used the phrase ‘look animated’.  Admittedly, the relief that at least I was sitting down for most of the time I was on stage and so wouldn’t faint was huge! We were also under the control of a cast member at all times so, frankly, couldn’t get into too much trouble.

The Big Moment

When the show started, we just sat in the audience watching the show like normal people. On the website, they warn you that the On Stage Wedding Guest tickets have a restricted view. The reason for this is that they have to get you out of the theatre about halfway through Act Two without disturbing everyone around you and so you sit in the last row of the stalls.

Actually, the view isn’t that bad – there is a bit of a shadow over your head from the circle above you, but there was only one scene when the action was up too high for me to see everything that was going on so it certainly didn’t spoil things.

As the second act started my friend and I got a bit nervous (I even had a glug of my Rescue Remedy!), eventually a man appeared at our side waving us to go and we all shuffled out and down the stairs to backstage.

We were led on stage in groups of two and our cast member ‘Prue’, quickly grabbed me by the hand and led me where I needed to go. She was great at making us feel at ease and look animated. Briallen Clarke who played Muriel’s sister Joanie, was also great, turning around and offering us some chips – because we weren’t miked my friend and I could also talk to each other which made things much easier, Fake talking could have been a problem. It was also helpful to have phones as props as it gave us something to do with our hands – even if they weren’t turned on.

A couple of other people with the On Stage Wedding Guest tickets were acting students and they were brilliant at responding to what was going on on stage. I kept forgetting I wasn’t supposed to be watching what was happening – particularly as this scene contains one of the pivotal moments in the film involving Muriel’s mum (played by Justine Clarke) and I wanted to see her reaction. I’m not sure I’m going to win a Tony any day soon but I think I did my bit okay

I have no idea how long we were on stage for but I’d guess it was 5-10 minutes maximum before the pews revolved and it was our cue to shuffle off to the side. Relieved that I hadn’t tripped, showed my knickers to all of Sydney or done something else stupid, I went back upstairs to my seat and enjoyed the rest of the show.

As I said, I did this when Muriel’s Wedding first showed in Sydney at the Roslyn Packer Theatre in Walsh Bay – the Lyric is a bigger theatre but the process and experience is likely to be the same. The only difference might be where they place you in the theatre to get you out and onstage as quickly and quietly as possible. It says on the booking terms for the On Stage ticket that you’ll be at the back of the stalls – which means you might even get a better view than we did. I’ve sat there for the Book of Mormon and it’s not a bad view.

Would I Recommend an On Stage Wedding Guest ticket?

Yes, it was really good fun and when people now ask me if I’ve seen Muriel’s Wedding: The Musical, I can say yes ‘ in fact I was in it’. The On-Stage Wedding Guest tickets also cost far less than normal tickets at just $99 – they are slightly less for the Wednesday matinee at $75.

Other than the going on stage, is Muriel’s Wedding: The Musical any good?

You’re terrible Muriel…..oh, who I am I kidding, It’s brilliant.

It’s really close to the movie but has been updated for today with references to social media and some other clever tweaks – for example, Muriel doesn’t work in a video store anymore but I won’t spoil the fun to say where she does work.

The songs are really catchy, it’s really funny and, yes, I did cry at the end. There’s something about the line ‘Goodbye Porpoise Spit’ that does that to me every time.

There’s also loads of Abba – more so than in the film and they are integrated in a far funnier way.

Summing Up the On Stage Wedding Guest Tickets

Here’s what I think are the Pros and Cons

Pros

  • You get to go on stage in front of an entire audience of people which is really cool
  • You get to see a bit of backstage and watch the big wedding scene in close up
  • The tickets are only $99 – a standard ticket in the stalls is $150
  • You only miss a tiny bit of the action and, if you’ve seen the film, you’ll easily know what’s going on in the 2-3 minutes you miss either side of the stage bit while you get into position and then head back to your seat

Cons

  • You get to go on stage in front of an entire audience of people which is also faintly terrifying
  • The view is a bit restricted, but for the price, it’s a bargain
  • You can’t have a glass of wine in the interval – you’re not allowed to have any alcohol if you’re going on stage. So forget that little bit of theatre tradition.
  • You can have to get there early to go through your briefing which means a little bit of hanging around (with no wine!)

If you do want to book the package, for Muriel’s Wedding: The Musical after reading this, then here’s where to find book the onstage wedding guest tickets. As well as the other rules I’ve mentioned, you do have to be over 14 to take part – and anyone under 18 has to be with an adult.

While we’re here – here are a few other questions you might have about the performance

How long is Muriel’s Wedding the Musical?

The performance lasts 2 hours and 49 minutes – with a break in between.

When do performances start?

The opening night is June 28th and it’s playing until August the 25th

Is it suitable for kids?

It does have some bad language and it’s a bit ruder than the film. It depends on how easily shocked your kids are I guess.

Is there anywhere good to eat near the theatre?

It’s very near Darling Harbour where you’ll find a string of restaurants. I like Planar which is probably about a 20-minute walk to the theatre. Fratelli Fresh also comes highly recommended.

If you want something nearer, there are a lot of places inside the Star Casino to which the theatre is attached. When I went recently, we went to Fat Noodle which wasn’t bad – although the portions were huge so watch out if big meals make you sleepy.

Most of the other restaurants closest to the theatre are in a food court type environment – or super posh.

Is there a bar in the theatre?

Yes – although it doesn’t have many seats. I do find they serve you quite quickly though.

If you’d prefer to meet friends nearby first – then there’s an interesting bar called Peg Leg nearby which has a pirate theme – they make really good cocktails some of which have fire!

The Maritime Museum in nearby Darling Harbour also has a nice bar if it’s warm enough to sit outside. Other close Darling Harbour bars are Helm at the other side of Pyrmont Bridge or The Port.

There are a few pubs nearby – the Pyrmont Bridge Hotel is a Sydney institution but might not be the best choice if you’re dressed up for the theatre (although I don’t mind it there on the balcony), maybe pick The Quarrymans – who have a nice rooftop and a friendly cat called Hopsy. Craft beer fans will be very happy here. Or The Harlequin which is a nice simple boozer.

What’s the view like from the back?

I recently sat in the Grand Circle on virtually the last row and the view was actually really good. It is quite high though which was a bit nerve-racking when walking to my seat (for those who don’t read this blog weekly I’m a bit of a wuss with heights).

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