by Arnie Finkel

What a pleasant surprise.  It has been my experience with “Dinner Theater” that either the meal or the show were lacking in some respect.  Methacton Community Theater hit the dining and the acting very well with their performance of local playwright Nancy Frick’s FOUR WEDDINGS AND AN ELVIS.   Once I found where in the Center Square Golf Club the performance was to be (some help outside would have been appreciated) I had a super time.

Chuck DeLong, Brenda Hunsberger, Eric Merlino, David Moyer, Jason Bell, Phyllis Blair, Ashley Rurode in a scene from Methacton Community Theater's FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL.

The play is set in Sandy’s Chapel of Love – a Las Vegas wedding chapel. MCT played the four scene comedy in the round.  Director Jay Farrelly moved his talented cast around and kept the pace up.  Playing in the round presents special problems to community actors, but none were evident here. I do question the reason for the audience to sit in the dark for the whole recording of Elvis songs.   

As Sandy, the owner of the chapel, Phyllis Blair capably provided the link between each of the four scenes.  Her character was wry and warm depending on the scene.

In the first vignette, Bev, an intense Brenda Hunsberger, and Stan, an angry Geoff Randall, seek revenge on their ex-spouses by going through a televised wedding which they intend for their ex’s to watch.  The laughs are there and it’s played well.  Eric Merlino adds to the merriment with a fun performance as an Elvis impersonator/minister.

The second wedding finds Bryce, a flamboyant Chuck DeLong, and Vanessa, an over the top Karen Eckstein-Sarkissian, as has-been actors using the wedding as a publicity stunt.  Their extravagant acting style provided the perfect foil for Ed Zeiser as Lou, a down to earth older minister.  Zeiser’s performance is a gem.  He makes the most of every line he’s given.  DeLong, a reliable character actor, and Eckstein-Sarkissian wind up playing half of the scene in their underclothes.

After the intermission (and a delicious dessert) we come to the third wedding.   This is the best writing in the play.  Marvin, a middle aged postal worker (played by David Moyer) wants to marry Fiona, a tough girl ex-con (played by Ashley Rurode).  Their plans are interrupted by Fiona’s last boy friend Fist (played by Jason Bell), who broke out of jail to stop the wedding.  All three gave fine in-character performances.  The laughs here come naturally from the situation.

The final wedding is Sandy’s fifth venture in hoped-for wedded bliss.  Ms. Blair has gone through several costume changes and carries it all off with a flair.  Every one shows up at this wedding and it ends the evening satisfactorily.

Methacton Community Theater is to be congratulated for finding the right play and the right venue for an evening filled with good food and lots of laughs.  Treat yourself.

by Nancy Frick
Directed by Jay Farrelly
March 11-20, 2011
Methacton Community Theater (Dinner Theater)
at Center Square Golf Club
2620 Skippack Pike
Worcester, PA, 19403
(610) 489-6449

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1 comment

Tom Blair March 14, 2011 - 1:19 pm

I had the pleasure of sitting next to Arnie & Lorie Finkel last Friday night at Four Weddings and an Elvis. I agree with his review completely. More than that, I had the loveliest chat with them both. Their knowledge of the local theater scene and theater in general is remarkable. I learned a great deal and was throughly entertained by their sense of humor and lighthearted conversation. Thanks for publishing Arnie’s reviews.


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