A Date for Mad Mary review: the wedding zinger you’ve been waiting for

Seána Kerslake brings more to the top table than a cute speech in Darren Thornton’s triumphant first feature

Love me tender: Charleigh Bailey and Seána Kerslake in A Date for Mad Mary

Love me tender: Charleigh Bailey and Seána Kerslake in A Date for Mad Mary

The triumphant first feature from Darren Thornton has the unmistakable shape of a conventional romantic comedy. (Indeed, it shares rudiments of plot with the recent, largely useless Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.) Seána Kerslake plays the titular young woman from Drogheda who, uneasy maid of honour to best pal Charlene (Charleigh Bailey), needs to find a date before the big wedding.

Adapted from Yasmine Akram’s play 10 Dates for Mad Mary – which Thornton directed on stage – the film works through the familiar mini-farces with irresistible comic gusto. Having already invented an intricate bio for an imaginary boyfriend, Mary, surprised on a first date, has to telepathically coax a virtual stranger into playing the part. The timing is spot-on. The jokes are never laboured. The conventions are largely honoured.

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