Monday, June 24, 2013


As farces go, this is one of the funniest.  It’s silliness on parade, in this case around and about the streets of ancient Rome.  A slave named Pseudolus, wonderfully captured in the antics of Steven Hayes, desperately wants to win his freedom and so he concocts a convoluted plot by helping his young master Hero (Adam Maggio) win the affections of the lovely girl next door.

The object of Hero’s affections is the beautiful virgin Philia ( Amandina Altomare) who resides at a house of ill repute, awaiting marriage to the dashing but vain Captain Miles Gloriosus (Colby Lewis) who has paid in advance for his bride.

Hold on to your laurel wreaths, as the Connecticut Repertory Theatre presents “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart, until Sunday, June 30.

The streets of ancient Rome run amok with a flood of laughter as Pseudolus devises a detailed scheme to obtain his goal of independence.  Complications swirl as Hero’s father Senex (Dirk Lumbard) mistakes Philia for his new maid, Marcus Lycus (Tim Murray) the keeper of the bawdy house, fears for his life if he doesn’t honor the Captain’s contract and an old man Erronius (Brandon Beaver) continues his search for his long lost son and daughter, stolen in infancy by pirates.

Disguises and mistaken identities abound as well as finely conceived lies, plagues and potions, soothsayers and signet rings, undead corpses and general mayhem.  Hysteria erupts when Hysterium, (Bradford Scobie) the chief slave of the house of Senex, is reluctantly pulled into the madcap machinations by Pseudolus and Senex’s ogre of a wife Domina (Ariana Shore) unexpectedly returns home because of her suspicious nature. The three Proteans (Conor Donnally, Coles Prince and Chester Martin) act like a trio of Stooges and Madelyn Shaffer, Annie Wallace, Claire Saunders, Alanna Saunders, Briana Maia and James Jelkin provide a bevy of beauty as the courtesans of the house of Marcus Lycus.

Great music like “Comedy Tonight,” “Lovely,” “Everybody Ought to Have a Maid,” “I’m Calm” and “Impossible” propel the action in the desired direction.

Vincent J. Cardinal directs and choreographs this fun romp on a colorful set conceived by Michael Anania, with a rainbow hue of costumes by Lisa Loen.

For tickets ($10-45), call the Connecticut Repertory Theatre, Jorgensen Theatre on the campus of the University of Connecticut at 860-486-2113 or online at  Performances are Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m..

Watch Pseudolus, the master of trickery, connive his way to a status of free man by manipulation and clever and comic scheming.  You’ll laugh all the way to the forum and back home again.

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