reviewed by Ken Klingenmeier

Epilogue Players’ mid-winter offering, Getting Sara Married, is a well-constructed play. It should be – the playwright, Sam Bobrick, was a long-time television writer of some note. His career in television included writing for such shows as Captain Kangaroo, The Andy Griffith Show, Bewitched, Get Smart, The Tim Conway Show, Saved by the Bell, and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. After 1990, he switched over to crafting plays – and one of the results was this one.

I mention all this because Getting Sara Married is very much a TV situation romantic comedy in style. One could easily see Mary Tyler Moore as Sara, Tim Conway as Noogie and Vickie Lawrence as Aunt Martha. But I am getting ahead of myself.

The plot deals with Sara Hastings, a happily unmarried lawyer, whose meddling and slightly bizarre Aunt Martha has decided that Sara is missing out on all the wonderful trappings of married life. Martha therefore hires “jack of all trades” Noogie Malloy to deliver a marriage candidate to Sara’s door. With a bop on the head and his handy delivery dolly, Noogie brings Sara one Brandon Cates – unconscious, of course – and the wacky rom-com begins. Quite a set-up – unlikely, silly, full of potential and one heck of a conflict, especially when Brandon awakes and has no idea where (or who) he is.

from left: Brandon (Vince Pratt) and Sara (Monya Wolf) in a scene from Epilogue Players’ “Getting Sara Married”.

Epilogue newcomer Monya Wolf takes the role of Sara and is well-suited for the part. Both she and Vince Pratt, who plays the sudden marriage candidate, Brandon, have a good understanding, no doubt with the guidance of director Veronique Duprey, of how this type of comedy needs to be played. Straight forward, even tempered, no wacky takes or gawky faces. Say the joke and tend to the laugh, if there is one. The fact that playwright Bobrick is a master of the set-em-up, take-em-down method of comedy certainly helps, but credit goes to the practitioners here. They are both very good at this style.

Molly Kraus handles the role of the eccentric Aunt Martha with a similarly mild countenance, making her almost seem normal – she is not! – which adds interest, to be sure. Noogie Malloy, as offered by Brian Nichols, is a much broader character, and that works too, as the force (in this case, a unique oddity) is strong in this one. Rounding out the small cast, Rachel Kelso does good work as Brandon’s put-upon wife to be – Heather, and Alex Dantin takes on the very quiet role of the Chiropractor.

from left: Brandon (Vince Pratt) and his fiancee Heather (Rachel Kelso) confront Noogie Malloy (Brian Nichols) in a scene from Epilogue Players’ “Getting Sara Married”.

Ms. Duprey has worked toward staging an even, mostly underplayed presentation here and that idea works well through much of the production. I can see that there is a flatness in the piece as a whole, with perhaps a need for a few more “peaks” identified in the action – but for the most part, this is a well-produced, well-thought-out show. Special mention should be given to Ron Roessler for his wonderful set design and decoration.

Bottomline: This is quite a charming play, and although one almost expects that tv commercials should appear during the set changes – Epilogue has a winner here.

Getting Sara Married continues at Epilogue Players through February 23rd. For more information about dates, times and reservation go to http://www.epilogueplayers.com or call 317.926.3139.

  • Photos provided by Epilogue Players