Friday, April 24, 2015

Review of Porchlight Music Theatre's A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. The book was by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart. The music and lyrics were by Stephen Sondheim and it was directed by Michael Weber. The music director was Linda Madonia and it was choreographed by Brenda Didier. It was about a guy named Pseudolus (Bill Larkin) who was a slave and he was trying to help out his master Senex's (Will Clinger) son, Hero (Miles Blim) have the girl he wants, Philia (Sarah Lynn Robinson). He is helping because Hero says Pseudolus can be free if he gets him this girl. But that doesn't go very well, because his mom (Caron Buinis) and dad don't want Hero to know any girls and Philia has already been bought by a big-time soldier, Miles Gloriosus (Greg Zawada). This was the funniest thing that ever happened on the way to the Forum! I laughed so hard that I was crying. It wasn't intellectual humor; it was whatever-the-heck-you-want humor where if it was random and weird and hilarious, it is in the show!

I loved how it started. When Prologus (Larkin) was singing "Comedy Tonight" and he said "Tragedy tomorrow" then like Hamlet (Blim) and Willy Loman (Clinger) and Julius Caesar (Zawada) and probably Medea (Buinis) came out and they all started speaking at once and there was dramatic movie music. And I thought that was very hilarious. That was the first time I laughed and that was only a minute in! Prologus also played Pseudolus, and he said "Pseudolus is one of my favorite characters and I'm playing him" as the robe was ripped off and they took off his wig and then he looked like Pseudolus. I thought that was super awesome and cool.

There were two songs called "Lovely," and they were the same song but they were sung by very different people. The first time they sung it, it was sung by Hero to Philia and Philia to herself and Philia to Hero. It is to show how much they love each other and they will never leave each other's side. I think it was a nice, pretty song. But it was also pretty funny because it showed how dippy Philia is. She is pretty and seems like a nice person, but she is not the brightest of all women. Like when she was talking to Pseudolus and she was like, "Three. That's one plus...two...right?" And then there is a very awkward silence and Pseudolus is just like, "Yes." The second time they sing "Lovely" it is Pseudolus to Hysterium (Matt Crowle), another slave. And he is singing the song to him because Hysterium thinks that he is ugly dressed like a girl. And then this amazing smile comes over Hysterium's face and he just goes from "I'm dreaming of this" to just full-on big smile. It was hilarious.

The choruses both seemed to have really big roles. Either they had big dance sequences, like the courtesans (Neala Barron, Ariana Cappuccitti, Erica Evans, Britt-Marie Sivertsen) or they played a lot of different roles, like the Proteans (Jason Grimm, Andrew Lund, and Jaymes Osborne). I loved the dance scenes where the different courtesans came out and were like, "You should choose me." And then Hero would shake his head, and after like three, Pseudolus was like, "What!" and just couldn't believe that none of these were the one Hero wanted because they were all so amazing. Marcus Lycus (Lorenzo Rush, Jr.) who was in charge of all the courtesans was very very funny. He did a lot of crazy stuff and he seemed not that bright either because he believed there was a deadly smiling plague in Crete. He got so scared, it was super funny. The proteans were so funny when they were the soldiers because they would come to the house and say Miles Gloriosus is almost here, and then they would do cheerleader moves. And I also really liked when they were following around Pseudolus and Miles said, follow his every move and so they did. And then Pseudolus decided to do some crazy weird cheesy moves, and they would do the same things. There were scenes when they would walk through following Pseudolus and dancing like he was. And when they were the eunuchs, and they were all supposed to lead the ladies home, they would go "Meep meep." So they were basically Beaker eunuchs.

Erronius (Anthony Whitaker) was a very old man who had been searching for his children who had been stolen by pirates. He had come back from that adventure and heard the voice of his neighbor inside of his house so Pseudolus tells him that his house is haunted and says he will have to walk around the seven hills seven times...slowly. It made me laugh so much when Erronius came around each time and would say, "First time around!" or "Third time around!" and would just smile and nod at people politely while shuffling slowly across the stage. SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't seen the play skip the rest of the paragraph. If you have seen the play keep reading. This is what I think Miles Gloriosus is thinking when he finds out who his sister and his father are: "I have so much swagger that this girl I bought turned out to be my sister."

People who would like this show are people who like comedy tonight, not-good-at-math courtesans, and Beaker eunuchs. I think people should definitely definitely go see this show. I laughed so much because it was so funny! I loved it!

Photos: Anthony LaPenna

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