The Matchmaker makes her match at The Arts Club

Say hello to the famed matchmaking busybody Dolly Gallagher Levi as The Matchmaker brings her to The Arts Club Theatre Company Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage. Thorton Wilder’s 1954 comedy served as the inspiration for the iconic musical Hello Dolly!, which turned Dolly Levi into a legendary role.

In The Arts Club Theatre Company’s The Matchmaker, director Ashlie Corcoran, guides an ensemble of 14 actors playing 16 characters through a maze of forbidden love, mistaken identities, madcap adventures and hysterical hijinx, resulting in much spontaneous laughter and applause from the audience throughout the performance.

Nicole Lipman as Dolly Levi
photo: David Cooper

While Nicole Lipman’s Dolly stirs the plot and characters with her cunning charm, it’s cantankerous Horace Vandergelder, played by Ric Reid, who sets the wheels in motion as the other characters seek to avoid or win “the first citizen of Yonkers'” favour. Whether it’s trying to keep his niece Ermengarde (Julie Leung) from marrying artist Ambrose Kemper (Nadeem Phillip), keep his love interest Mrs Molloy on a string whilst there is another potential suitor, or keep his employees in check in spite of their desire for adventure, Mr Vandergelder never quite succeeds with Dolly really pulling the strings.

The Matchmaker
photo: David Cooper

As the characters move the action from Yonkers “where nothing ever happens”, to New York City, Mrs Molloy (Naomi Wright) and her flighty shop assistance Minnie (Georgia Beaty) are the first bold flashes of colour both in character, costume and setting of her millinery shop. When they stumble into the shop, the ladies awaken something within Mr. Vandergelder’s naive shop clerks, Cornelius Hackl and Barnaby Tucker. Played with leading-man charm and charisma by Tyrone Savage and wide-eyed innocence by Daniel Doheny, respectively, the gentlemen were seeking an adventure and found much more than they bargained for, or could afford, but in Dolly’s world everything has a way of working out, for everyone.

Throughout the adventure we meet an assortment of colourful characters each with their own over-the-top eccentricities. The audience becomes a 17th character when many of the characters break the fourth wall to speak directly to the room; sharing their feelings, or words of wisdom albeit when coming from drunkard Malachi Stack, hilariously played by Scott Bellis, they might be taken with a shot of whiskey. With so much happening on stage, the whole performance moves like a dance as players move in, out and over the sets and costumes on their way to happily ever after.

Drew Facey’s beautiful production design creates a world, with four distinct sets, reminiscent of The Gilded Age but with hints of modernity in the set decorations and costumes that make it a world all its own. The set and costumes lends just enough realism to ground the show but the colourful winks and whimsy fit perfectly with the absurdity of the farce. If you listen closely, you’ll also note that the music doesn’t fit the period but does fit the characters, with a short nod to Hello Dolly!, as well.

Experience the laughter for yourself as The Matchmaker plays at The Arts Club Theatre Company Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage until February 24, 2019. Visit artsclub.com for tickets and showtimes.

What’s on Wednesday – April 7-9, 2011

Another weekend is coming up! What are you going to do?
Here’s a few choices that I think are pretty cool.

Thursday April 7, 2011
– All-girl Belgian Choir “Scala & Kolacny Brothers” are at Commodore Ballroom Vancouver
– “Riverdance” is burning up the stage in Vancouver at Queen Elizabeth Theatre until April 10th
– Over in Victoria, world fusion band Dehli 2 Dublin are playing at Sugar Nightclub
– George Bernard Shaw’s The Philanderer is at The Arts Club Theatre Company’s Stanley Theatre through to April 17

Friday April 8, 2011
– Julio Iglesias is singing ‘to all the girls’ at River Rock Casino in Richmond
– The hilarious Wayne Brady is at Red Robinson Theatre at Boulevard Casino Coquitlam
– “Bright Eyes” bring their indie/folk to Commodore Ballroom
– Get your hip-hop on in two different venues: At Five-Sixty there’s fun and charity with Japan Disaster Relief Benefit with Lighta & Friends and at The Colbalt go for some hip-hop drag queen fun at Hustla,

Saturday April 9, 2011
– “The Knocks” from NYC are playing Lucky Bar in Victoria
– Julio Iglesias gets knickers in a twist in Coquitlam at Boulevard Casino’s Red Robinson Theatre
– There’s good time’s and dancing in Five-Sixty at Progression ft local fave DJ’s Dready, Quest & Jeffrey Michael
– ‘Another Home Invasion‘ continues through April 23rd at Arts Club Theatre Revue Stage

Sunday April 10, 2011
– The beautiful and talented Ellie Goulding is at Venue
– Brit Band Foals are at Commodore Ballroom