Goodbye, Dolly

ACT's The Matchmaker too frequently recalls how much better the musical is

And then there's Gordana Rashovich as Ermengarde's dotty aunt, Flora. In a role that could so easily be a mere afterthought -- she doesn't appear until the very end, when everyone arrives at her house to sort things out and pair up -- Rashovich creates a complete comic persona, a woman whose mix-ups are not her fault, but who struggles to make sense from wildly haphazard events.

It's enough to make you stop hearing everything as a song cue for Hello, Dolly! Then the denouement reminds us that along with cutting a lot of the show's fat, Stewart and Herman also eliminated Matchmaker's precious ending, wherein the suddenly much-too-adorable Barnaby is prompted to offer a moral about the virtues of risking adventures. It's as though Wilder couldn't leave well enough alone and trust us to get his point.

He should have left it with Dolly.
The Matchmaker runs through June 7 at the Geary Theater in S.F.; call 749-2228.

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