August 29, 2014

Romance wraps up Clockwork’s 35th season

Clockwork Repertory Theatre, Oakville: There are many ways to meet that special someone these days, but no one has ever done it like Aunt Martha in “Getting Sara Married” by Sam Bobrick. Leave it to Clockwork Rep to wind up its anniversary season with a light and happy romantic comedy. 

The fun begins when Aunt Martha decides that her lawyer niece needs to get married. Sara is too busy with her case loads and content with her single status. She does not want to go online to a matchmaker site and she wishes her aunt would leave her alone. Then Sara receives a very unusual special delivery and the fun never stops.

Aunt Martha believes she has found the perfect guy for Sara. However, after unsuccessfully trying to get Brandon Cates to meet Sara, she takes matters into her own hands. She actually hires a gangster-like Noogie Malloy to bop the already-engaged-to-be-married Brandon on the head and Noogie delivers him unconscious to Sara’s East Side apartment in New York. 

That Jolian Cook, who plays the title role, is able to keep a straight face throughout this hilarious production is quite an accomplishment. After all, she receives Brandon, who is unceremoniously dumped on  her couch, listens to his lightening fast soliloquy without batting an eye, and witnesses his erratic reactions to his allergies. Cook is always in character and her plausible performance is delivered most naturally.

Michael Reilly plays the often confused Brandon with fluidity and perfect comic timing. His performance is so good that audiences applaud his long-winded explanations in the middle of his performance. Here is a consummate characterization by a very talented actor, who will hopefully entertain audiences more frequently.  

Delivering a great comic performance is Michael F. Sacco as Noogie. Sacco has taken a small role and transformed it into a memorable one. The way he tilts his hat, the way he brushes off his shirt, his every gesture is as natural as it is comic. 

Marueen Sheehan makes it easy to like a meddling aunt because Sheehan looks like she’s having fun on stage, which turns Aunt Martha into a most likeable and fun-loving character.  Heather Budzian gets to flaunt her charm as Brandon’s fiancée,Heather Boyd, and Mitch Friedman, who not only directs this production with light-hearted focus and precise timing, but manages to create a memorable chiropractor without ever speaking a word. 

Harold Pantely’s set features a bright, upscale but cozy apartment complete with a window scene, flower arrangement, and art. If you want a real comedy that keeps  you laughing out loud from start to finish, head out to Oakville’s Clockwork Rep. The show plays through May 11. For more information and/or reservations call the box office: 860-274-7247.

Joanne Greco Rochman is an active member in The American Theatre Critics Association, and covers art and culture in a blog for CBS and CBS-CT.  She welcomes comments. Contact: jgrochman@gmail.com