BWW Review: MATCH-MAKING GOES AWRY IN GETTING SARA MARRIED at Just For Laughs Dinner Theatre
If laughter is the best medicine, I'm pretty sure I'm healthy for the rest of the year. In Kara Gold's exceptional directorial debut of the fourth season opener and Florida premiere of Getting Sara Married at Just for Laughs Dinner Theatre, the absurdity is hysterical.
The story features a workaholic, an engaged financial advisor with short-term memory loss, and frightening food allergies. Mix in a loving, albeit busybody aunt, a frustrated fiancé, and a teddy bear of a sort-of-shady delivery guy, and you have yourself an incredibly funny farce. In the real world, the script would make no sense, but somehow the talent of the five actors makes a storyline where you have to suspend belief, plausible.
Everyone needs an aunt like Martha, played brilliantly by theatre general manager Barbara Anthony. Martha, in the best costumes of all characters, is a spunky, stubborn lady who delivers the best oneliners, who won't take no for an answer, who is intent on getting her unattached niece Sara (Brianna Anderson) married. She's willing to do it by any means necessary, even if a little unorthodox and a lot illegal, which is ironic as Sara is a lawyer busy working on a case defending an embezzler.
"But is he married?" Martha asks.
Brianna is outstanding as the perfectly-content-single niece whose life is turned upside down by her eccentric aunt's gift. Her monologue about horribly and vividly visualizing her future as a wife and mother is met with a rousing, knowing applause. We see her slowly find herself - against her better judgment - falling for an unavailable guy with wedding plans already in his future.
Brianna and Barbara give us some of the most memorable scenes with their telephone sparring. I also couldn't wait to see what hobby Aunt Martha would be doing next on the speakerphone.
Noogie Malloy (Austin Allison) is the entrepreneur delivery guy, a jack-of-all-trades that is one of the nicest guys in the oddest line of work you'll ever meet. He keeps wheeling in a special delivery to Sara's place compliments of Aunt Martha. When Noogie faceplants on to the stage floor, the gasps were audible, followed by "I hope he's okay." Austin's nonchalance makes an extreme career choice seem commonplace.
Kevin Lawrence is simply adorable as the confused insurance salesman, perplexed why there's a lump on his head and how his typical day keeps ending up in Sara's home. His fumbling through what he thought he did for a living is another highlight of the production. When he eats a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, the audience literally leaned forward in their seats, counting down to the inevitable. His monologue about visualizing marriage and family was another great moment in the production.
Kaylie Horowitz is delightful as the confused and jealous fiancé, Heather. When she begins rattling off terrible suitors for Sara, we can see her smile barely contains her disdain - this fiancé has coiffed claws. Her facial reactions are priceless while envisioning herself in Sara's very vivid visualizations of her future.
Visit Just for Laughs Dinner Theatre for a delicious buffet and enjoy Kara's charming production of family interference and an unconventional way to discover how true love can come in an unusual package.
Remember, it's not a kidnapping; it's match-making.