Theatre Review: The Matchmaker

Theatre Review: The Matchmaker

Thornton Wilder’s ‘The Matchmaker’ is an hilarious and witty look at arranged romances.


Presented by Independent Theatre
Reviewed 5 Aug 2016

There is little doubt that Thornton Wilder’s play is funnier that its musical alter ego Hello Dolly. Wilder’s wit keeps this gem moving along nicely and gives the audience some very funny moments. On a well-designed and constructed set with smooth, no fuss scene changes Independent have brought us another winner.

David Roach is perfect as the irascible Horace Vandergelder who is looking for a wife when what he actually wants is an unpaid housekeeper. Will Cox and Kyle Hall play his clerks, Cornelius Hackl and Barnaby Tucker, with comedic skill. These two extract every laugh possible with their amusing antics.

Matchmaker21Bronwyn Ruciak does a fantastic job as the over-the-top Dolly Levi. She manages to keep an unbelievable character believable. Dolly attempts to assist Emengarde, Vandergelder’s niece and her beaux escape, while she is assisting him to find a bride.

One potential bride is Irene Molloy, sweet and feisty, played by Georgia Penglis, who with her workmate Minnie Fay (Grace Berwald) beguile the inexperienced clerks from Yonkers, who are just out for an adventure. Dolly, of course, wants the rich Yonkers merchant for herself so she steers him away from Irene. The hat shop sequence is hilarious.

Malachi Stack (Andrew Steuart) is there to stir the pot as a possible new servant and has the opportunity to increase the hilarity with his antics. He is enlisted to prevent the elopement of Ermengarde (Emma Bleby) and Ambrose Kemper (Stephen Schofield) by taking them to Aunt Flora.

Miss Flora Van Huysen is played by the wonderful Pam O’Grady, who as Aunt Flora manages to confuse the entire company whilst trying to champion the lovers, whoever they may or may not be. O’Grady carries the final scene, ably assisted by Maxine Grubel as the cook, with aplomb.

This is one not to miss! But be warned, you will laugh until your side hurts!

Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Twitter: @franeds

Venue: Goodwood Institute Theatre
Season: 5 – 13 Aug 2016
Duration: 2hr 45mins
Tickets: $18 – $35


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