Monday, November 21, 2016

The Matchmaker

The Matchmaker. Thornton Wilder. 1954. 120 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: I tell you for the hundredth time you will never marry my niece.

Premise/plot: The Matchmaker is a play by Thornton Wilder. Chances are if you hear the names "Horace Vandergelder," "Cornelius Hackl," "Barnaby Tucker," "Irene Molloy," and "Dolly Levi" you will likely think of the musical Hello Dolly and not The Matchmaker. But The Matchmaker obviously came first.

What should you know? It is FUNNY. It features more characters than the musical. (I really LOVED Malachi Stack and Flora Van Huysen. Malachi gets some of the best lines, in my opinion!) The ending is similar but not identical.

So for those who haven't seen the musical... Horace Vandergelder is a cranky old man who is about to make a big decision. He has decided to remarry. Just as emphatically as he's decided to marry, he's decided that his niece will NOT be marrying her fellow, Ambrose Kemper. Two of Vandergelder's clerks (he's a store owner) decide--on this momentous day--that they've had enough and deserve a day off. Not just any day off, but a day off in the CITY. One of them vows TO NOT COME HOME UNTIL HE'S KISSED A GIRL. Cornelius and Barnaby "happen" to meet Irene Molloy (Vandergelder's first choice) and her assistant, Minnie. The people seeking adventure get in over their heads. The people NOT seeking adventure get in over their heads too. By the end, one and all long for normalcy and routine.

My thoughts: If you ask me if I like the movie--well, I can get all the best scenes by watching Wall-E. But after seeing Hello Dolly live at my local theatre, well, my perspective changed a bit. Things that were slightly funny sitting at home watching the movie really become hilarious on stage. I walked out a FAN. The Matchmaker was a perfectly perfect read for me. And I loved coming across lines like, "Go and get your Sunday clothes on."

"It looks to me like you're pretty rash to judge which is fools and which isn't fools, Mr. Vandergelder. People that's et onions is bad judges of who's et onions and who ain't." Joe (the barber) to Mr. Vandergelder

"Ninety-nine percent of the people in the world are fools and the rest of us are in great danger of contagion." Mr. Vandergelder

"I tell you right now: a fine woman is the greatest work of God." Cornelius

"There's nothing like eavesdropping to show you that the world outside your head is different from the world inside your head." Malachi 

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


FictionFan 12:54 AM  

Great review - love those quotes, especially the one about the onion-eaters! I'm going to try to find a reason to use that one in real life... ;)

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