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Edited and Published by Robert W. McDowell

September 29, 2022 Issue
PART 4 (October 2, 2022)

A FREE Weekly E-mail Newsletter Covering Theater, Dance, Music, and Film in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill/Carrboro Area of North Carolina Since April 2001.


Dee  Penven-Crew  Delights  as  a  Meddling  Aunt/-
Matchmaker in Sam Bobrick's Getting Sara Married

Matchmakers! Have you ever been "set up" by a matchmaker?

Peak Ensemble Players' current production of Sam Bobrick's 2008 comedy, Getting Sara Married, which plays at the Halle Cultural Arts Center in Apex, NC, through Sunday, Oct. 9th, shows the hilarious extent to which a meddling aunt might go to get her niece married. Indeed, this well-meaning matchmaker doesn't split hairs over such incidental details as whether or not a prospective husband is even available and/or interested. In fact, she is so determined that she pays to have him delivered -- "special delivery."

Sara Hastings (played by Kirsten DeSena) is a lawyer. Her Aunt Martha (Dee Penven-Crew) is an eccentric. Brandon Cates (Larry Evans) is having trouble remembering what his occupation is, but he does remember that he is engaged to Heather Boyd (Rebecca Leonard). And Noogie Malloy (Chris Brown) -- let's just say that he's a freelance deliveryman, and he is apparently willing to deliver just about anything.

The Peak Ensemble Players' production of Sam Bobrick's Getting Sara Married, directed by Kathleen Rudolph, stars (from left) Kirsten
DeSena as Sara Hastings, Rebecca Leonard as Heather Boyd, Larry Evans as Brandon Cates, and Chris Brown as Noogie Malloy

Kirsten DeSena and Rebecca Leonard are both quite entertaining with their very animated performances. And Chris Brown, a master of "dead pan," elicits laughter with nearly every line.

Larry Evans' role, among other things, includes being dead weight as the delivered "package," being bewildered by a case of amnesia, and having to apologize for something he hasn't done. Evans milks the comedic moments from each situation; and Dee Penven-Crew, a veritable "side show" with Aunt Martha's costumes, her antics, and her hobbies, delivers a performance well worth the price of admission.

Among the strengths of Peak Ensemble Players are both their pacing and their sense of timing. Director Kathleen Rudolph scores high marks in these departments again. Now and then, a character finishes another character's sentence; on occasion, two characters speak the same words at the same time. These moments depend on timing; and because this cast is so well-tuned, these moments are extremely funny.

Dee Penven-Crew's performance as Aunt Martha is well worth the price of admission

In addition to Aunt Martha's eccentric wardrobe, costume designer Tracey Gallagher has dressed these characters well.

Creating a set with the interior of three different apartments on such a small proscenium stage is no small feat, and scenic/lighting/tech designer Thomas Mauney has hit a home run. In addition, Mauney has managed to overcome this stage's biggest drawback, the difficulty of completely masking the wings. Well done!

Thursday's "performance," was actually a "dress rehearsal," but I saw no need for any fine tuning. This company is a true "ensemble," and their performance once again reaches a "peak."

Kirsten DeSena plays marriageable, but not marriage-minded attorney Sara Hastings in Sam Bobrick's Getting Sara Married

Sam Bobrick's GETTING SARA MARRIED (In Person at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2 and 7-9), directed by Kathleen Rudolph and starring Kirsten DeSena as Sara Hastings, Dee Penven-Crew as Aunt Martha, Chris Brown as Noogie Malloy, Larry Evans as Brandon Cates, and Rebecca Leonard as Heather Boyd (Peak Ensemble Players at the Halle Cultural Arts Center in Apex). TRAILERS: VIDEOS: 2021-22 SEASON: THE PRESENTER: and THE VENUE:,,,, and DIRECTIONS: WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY: COVID REQUIREMENTS: THE PLAY: and THE SCRIPT (excerpts): THE PLAYWRIGHT:,,, and TICKETS: $18 ($10 students 16 and under, $12 students 17+, and $12 seniors), plus taxes and fees. Click here to buy tickets. INFORMATION: 919-249-1120,, or PLEASE DONATE TO: Peak Ensemble Players. Halle Cultural Arts Center.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Kurt Benrud is a graduate of Cary High School and N.C. State University, and he has taught English at both. He first became involved in local theater in 1980. He has served on the board of directors for both the Cary Players and the Cary Playwrights' Forum. He is also a volunteer reader with North Carolina Reading Service. Click here to read his reviews for Triangle Review.


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