Reviewed by Janice Bailey
Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker is a superbly crafted play with wonderful characters who find themselves in farcical situations which can be portrayed as hilarious or just ridiculous. Director Rob Croser has found ‘the fine line’ in Independent Theatre’s current production, playing at the Goodwood Institute theatre. He has assembled a stellar cast and directed them superbly to create an hilarious romp.
Bronwyn Ruciak creates a suitably eccentric and endearing Dolly Levi as she pursues the controlling but bumbling Horace Vandergelder played impeccably by David Roach. Will Cox as Cornelius and Kyle Hall as Barnaby, the two young overworked and underpaid apprentices employed by Vandergelder, effectively use every opportunity available for laughs and do it brilliantly without descending into ‘slapstick’ as so easily could happen. They effectively control the plot with skill that might be expected in actors twice their age.
Georgia Penglis as Irene is delightful, as is Grace Berwald as Minnie. There is, in effect, no weak link in the show and every character is played with clear understanding. Special mention must go to Pam O’Grady whose Flora van Huysen was a sheer delight.
As has come to be expected of Independent Theatre productions, the sets were classy and clever, with scene changes swift and unobtrusive. David Roach, Adrian Shirley, Chris Gilbert, Mal Corkhill and Bill Fowler should all be congratulated. Kathy Mulders, Kathy Donnelly, Judy Chapman, Pattie Atherton, Sandra Davis and Angela Doherty have created and sourced wonderful costumes appropriate to the era. Hannah Orton and Amelia Tremelling’s Hair and Makeup and Lighting by Erik Strauts, Brad Thomson and Ian Thomson should also be commended.
If you’re looking for a couple of hours of sheer entertainment and laughs you should make every effort to see ‘The Matchmaker’.
Kyle Hall and Will Cox as the overworked clerks.