Theatre Mirror Reviews - "A Funny Thing Happened on The Way to The Forum"

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note: entire contents copyright 1998 by Larry Stark


"A Funny Thing Happened on The Way to The Forum"

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by Burt Shevelov and Larry Gelbart
Directed by Paul Farwell
Choreographed by Linda Sughrue
Music Director Wayne Ward

Scenic Designer Ronald L. Dion
Costumes Designed by Richard Itczak
Lighting Design by Mark Olivere
Sound Design by William Shamlian
Stage Managers Megan Healy & Larry Devlin

Pseudolous................................Stephen Capriulo
Hysterium.......................................Scott Sevigny
Lycus...............................................Chuck Walsh
Senex..................................................Jan Hansen
Erronius..............................................Steve Rose
Domina.............................................Susan Walsh
Hero.........................................Christopher Mack
Philia.................................................Diana Doyle
Miles Gloriosus.............................Patrick English
Tintinabula...................................Christine Burns
Panacea................................................Laura Hill
The Geminae........Linda Sughrue, Julie Silverman
Vibrata................................Brandi Rae McGrath
Gymnasia......................................Tracy Sperling
THE PROTEANS
William Cohen, Christian Potts, Jessica Shulman

ORCHESTRA
Keyboard.....Wayne Ward
Bass.....Rob Orr, Dave Weisman
Drums.....Steven Jounakos
Wodwind....Louis Toth, Ray Taranto
Trumpet.....Dave Johnson, Paul Tomashefsky, Bob John, Tom Cupples
Trombone....Harlan Feinstein, Brian Troiano

Now, why would you want to go all the way out to Newton to take in yet another production of Stephen Sondheim's most-produced comic musical? Well, the reputation Turtle Lane Playhouse has built for doing good work should be enough, because it's justly deserved.

But perhaps you've seen it once already. I've seen it four times, and probably will again.

But the production you saw might have been a bad one. I have a friend says she saw several, all bad, but she liked this one. I myself saw a bad one --- took a friend who'd never seen it to see Mickey Rooney touring as Pseudolus; I think I hated it more than she did, because I knew how good it can be. It did cure me of telling people it was a sure-fire "actor-proof" delight, though.

Maybe you loved your first experience of it so much you think nothing could be as good. But each good production I've seen is unique to its particular cast, the chemistry between them, the snap of the timings, the quickness of delivery, those ineffable pauses that give punch to a line. This one's got all the fast parts down pat, and the slow parts only serve to set the rest into relief.

Maybe you think a fat guy with a beard should play Tevya and not Pseudolus? Then you've really got to see Stephen Capriulo work the crowd. (He dances, too.)

Maybe you can't believe anyone can find six courtesans so beautiful as to make you glad they spent the money on salaries that they skimped on costumes? Hah!

Maybe you think the two ingenue lovers cannot be at one time good singers, good actors, and funny? Well, Diana Doyle has lovely arms, Christopher Mack has lovely legs, both have good voices, and they both know they're doing comedy.

Maybe you think Miles Gloriosus can't sport a full salt-and-pepper beard and still, in armor and with a sword in his hand, still be hopelessly infatuated with --- himself? Well, Patrick English takes large steps.

Maybe you don't like multiple and internal rhyming of intricate inventiveness? Maybe you are bewildered by plot after counterplot after ruse after doublecross? Maybe you just don't like laughing a lot! Well, they did say they're doing "Medea" later this week.

It's comedy tonight!

Love,
===Anon.

"A Funny Thing Happened on The Way to The Forum" (till 23 August)
TURTLE LANE PLAYHOUSE
NEWTON
1(617)244-0169

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