Theater review: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

The cast from 'A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum'

The Historic Athenaem Theatre. Non-stop hilarity abetted by superb performances surrounds

this never stale musical with its well-seasoned slices of humanity. Claire

Wilcher, serving up Pseudelus in her most initimitable pixiousness, brings a

spectrum of new delights to the role of the slave whose goal in life — duh

— is to attain freedom. This inspired casting by director Bob Harbin is

matched by his choices for the full roster of characters, whose names offer a

smorgasbord in Greek and Roman etymology, and whose personas are a who's who of

'the way we are.' Ah yes, there's something for everyone to laugh about and

chew on. In this bawdy, zany, wildly improbable setting, we buy into Pseudelus'

scheme to pair Philia with Hero because we're not that far removed from the

reign of Nero some four thousand years ago. Scot Greenwell is a remarkable

Hysterium, imbuing "I'm lovely" with a coyness you'll not forget. Kate Bridal's

intelligence makes 'dumb blonde' Philia as irresistible as Matt Patterson makes

clueless Hero endearing. Paul Hansen elevates hen-pecked Senex while Brenda

Upchurch as his wife Domina, well, dominates.Karlton D. Turner exploits Miles Gloriosus: (Latin for

"boastful soldier"). Mark Fishback gives Marcus Lycus an aura of

believability — he's only trying to make a living. And there are: Venda

Fuhrmann stopping, and tying up, the show in the cameo role of Erronius; the

trio of Proteans — DeKeisha Bryant, Dave Rosencrans and David G. Terry

— doing everything from slapstick to piracy; and the Courtesans —

Jennifer Shoup, Jenee Michelle, Kelsey Breece and Chris Lingner —

undulating rapturously. The production is entirely ensemble, with a fine band

and good lighting, sound, costume and set design. Go for the fun of it, take

away a point well-taken. Through Aug. 7; Tickets: www.bobdirex.com; 317-280-0825.

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