Last night I was fortunate to be in the audience for the first public performance of Stephen Sondheim’s classic, A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum. I have to qualify this”review” by stating the simple fact that I am just a radio guy who makes short films and is rehearsing for my on-stage debut later this month. I am not a theatre critic and don’t pretend to be. This review is for the people who don’t often go to Geva for whatever reason. Once again, I have no business writing this review.
First of all – this is a comedy. Just in case you miss the word “Funny” in the title. It is whimsical and loads of fun. Steve Rosen is Pseudolus, a slave who is hoping for his freedom. He is the host of this romp through this fictitious Roman neighborhood. Rob Riordan is Hero – the very man who can grant Pseudolus his freedom, if only Pseudolus can deliver Philia (Anna Bucci), a virgin who has already been sold to a Captain in the Roman Legion, Milos Gloriosus (Tim Rogan). One of my favorite aspects of this show is that they continuously break the ‘fourth wall’. (Which means they address the audience directly). I tend to prefer plays over musicals, but this one is so chock full of raw physical comedy and witty repartee that I didn’t mind it when the characters broke into song. Many parts were almost self-deprecating, like they were making fun of the fact that they just broke into song. Scantily clad men and women perform circus-like acrobatics with the grace of the ballet and the timing of old school vaudeville acts. Like I’ve stated, I don’t know what critics who review plays for a living will write about, but I can’t imagine they would write one negative word about this experience. The intimacy of Geva’s Wilson Main Stage and the talent in this cast really make for an extremely enjoyable theatre experience. It would also be a crime not to mention the stylings of Bill Nolte as Marcus Lycus, the local brothel owner. His booming voice and flamboyance really kill. The whole cast rocks. Do yourself a favor and see this show. Get Tickets Here