“Getting Sara Married” tells of match made in mayhem

By DAVID DUPONT

BG Independent News

“Getting Sara Married” has just about everything you’d want in a romantic comedy: two reluctant suitors, a meddling aunt, a bout of amnesia and some serious food allergies.

All those get comically twisted into a plot that not surprisingly ends up with the male ready to move his recliner into the female’s apartment. The fun is in the way the characters are manipulated in ways unlikely and comic into reaching that conclusion.

The Black Swamp Players’ production of “Getting Sara Married,” written by Sam Bobrick and directed by Willard Misfeldt, a 40-year community  theater veteran, opens tonight at 8 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 1526 E. Wooster St., Bowling Green. The show continues Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. and April 22 and 23 at 8 p.m. and April 24 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door or from Grounds for Thought or online at http://www.blackswampplayers.org/tickets/.

Having a well-meaning, interfering aunt always benefits such a plot. In this case Aunt Martha (Fran Weith) fills the bill nicely. At once ditsy and single-minded, she’s concerned that her 30-something lawyer niece will “walk that long road of life alone.”

“Left to your own devices,” she tells her niece in one of their hilarious telephone chats, “I’m afraid you’ll end up an old maid. By your age I had been married twice.” Isn’t that embezzler that Sara is representing single?

But the niece, the Sara (Caris Cloyd) of the title, professes no interest in matrimony. She’s more concerned with preparing the defense for the embezzler. “Marriage,” Sara says at one point, “is not the way to happiness. Actually divorce usually does the job a lot better.”

So Aunt Martha resorts to extraordinary, and illicit methods, to hook her niece up with financial advisor  Brandon Cates (played by Joshua Cloyd, Caris Cloyd’s husband).

So, much to Sara’s dismay, an unconscious Brandon is delivered to her apartment by Noogie Malloy (Leroy Morgan), as amiable a shady character as you’re likely to meet.

As Brandon comes to with his memory scrambled, the hijinks hit high gear.

What follows is a lot of misunderstanding, and plenty of opportunities for Brandon to utter the phrase “that didn’t come out right” to his fiancée Heather (Hali Maleki).

The play is a tightly scripted farce that plays fast and loose with reality. It’s up to the actors to make the audience believe in this amusing nonsense. This mix of new and veteran players does a good job at it. Even Andrew Varney, in the non-speaking role of Martha’s chiropractor, makes the most of his stage time.

Weith shows why she’s the go-to actress in the company for these comic lady characters. She’s never less than fully invested in her character’s harebrained schemes. And Morgan makes you believe in Noogie as just a small businessman with an odd line of work. Maleki brings just the right touch of annoyance to her role without making her character, Brandon’s younger girlfriend, seem like a brat.

At the center are the Cloyds. They have real chemistry but they dole out that sense of intimacy carefully. They make sure their characters don’t tip their emotional hands too early, even as the audience knows that in the end they’ll end in a clinch.

As a reviewer I feel I’m at a disadvantage seeing the show in a virtually empty house. I envy those who get to share “Getting Sara Married” with a bunch of family, friends and fellow theater lovers, responding to all the comic nuances and absurd turns. That’ll bring the best out of this amusing comedy.

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