AMANA - The marketing for Old Creamery Theatre's production of Thornton Wilder's "The Matchmaker" centers on Marquetta Senters.
So, too, does director Sean McCall's note in the program: "When you pick a play like 'The Matchmaker' you should probably have an actress in mind to do it. There's no question that I chose this play for Marquetta. Who else could fill that wide brimmed hat .? There was only one in my mind."
Senters is, indeed, an excellent choice to play Dolly Levi ("The Matchmaker" is the source material for the musical "Hello, Dolly!"), a busybody meddling in everyone's romantic lives. She delivers her witty dialogue with flawless timing, and her gift for the perfect gesture or facial expression adds much to her performance.
David Q. Combs is her ideal foil as Horace Vandergelder, a curmudgeonly man in a marrying mood. Combs storms imperiously through the play until a certain woman domesticates him.
As good as Senters and Combs are, however, Vaughn Irving and Adelina Feldman-Schultz nearly steal the show as Vandergelder's put-upon clerk and a young widow who are instantly smitten with each other.
Irving is wonderful as Cornelius Hackl, a man desperate to break free of his humdrum life, but unaccustomed to derring-do of any sort.
As Irene Malloy, Feldman-Schultz is delightful from the moment she steps on stage. Her high-spiritedness drives much of the comedy, helping the paper-thin plot along ("The Matchmaker," though by the same writer, is no "Our Town").
Senters, Combs, Irving and Feldman-Schultz are well -supported by the entire cast. Jason Grubbe is quite funny as an itinerant drunkard in need of a job; Haley Karlson can fill the room with her comic bouts of tears; and Nick Barnes plays wide-eyed innocence for laughs throughout the play.
Kerry Strahm's set is well done, allowing for various spaces to be created quickly. The set change between the two scenes of the second act is one of the most entertaining moments of the production as the characters, all riled up by various misadventures and too much drink, scurry about boisterously moving set pieces here and there.
Osean Perez's costumes are impeccable, and Jim Vogts' lighting design is effective, particularly during several soliloquies. Jaclyn Ledoux's sound design ensures that the fairly large cast, playing in a fairly large space, always can be heard.
If you enjoy well-performed lightweight comedy, "The Matchmaker" is a match for you.