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The New American Shakespeare Tavern1
Average Rating Given : 4.00000
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REVIEWS

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Remount), by Stephen Sondheim, Burt Shevelove, Larry Gelbart
Tragedy tomorrow, one GREAT show tonight
Sunday, May 23, 2004
4.0
First of all, I went into this show just expecting to have a great time and laugh my butt off - and this group certainly delivered - but I didn't sit there taking notes or trying to pick apart the production. And I accidentally left my program there so I won't be able to name any of the actors, only the character names (Sorry!) But these are my thoughts on the show...

First of all, GREAT JOB! A lot of work and many many hours of rehearsal obviously went into this production. The entire cast stayed in character the entire time (except for when the Proteans cracked up during one scene, which just made it funnier), dropped and flubbed lines were almost non-existant, and the entire show was knee-slappingly funny. Without even reading any further, GO TO THIS SHOW. I'm already planning a second excursion myself.

That said, here are my more specific thoughts on the production. The actor playing Hysterium is my new favorite person. His comedic timing was flawless, and he unquestionably stole the show. Even during other character's scene's and solos there was no doubt that every eye was focused on the hilarious antics of this amazing actor. If there is one overwhelming reason to see this show, Hysterium is it. If the rest of the show had been terrible - which it most assuredly wasn't - it would have been worth the money to see this man work his magic on stage.

All the other performances were also excellent, but in my opinion they all paled a little in comparison to Hysterium. Another standout was the guy who played Hero. Despite my initial hesitation at his appearance (he is definitely not your typical romantic hero) he soon won me over, and his was my second favorite performance of the night.

The actor playing Pseudolus was wonderful. But it bothered me how much he sounded like he was trying to imitate Nathan Lane. I have never seen him in anything else, so I cannot judge whether that's just his usual voice and intonation, but it sounded to me like he was trying too hard to imitate Lane, and I would have preferred to see a unique take on the character. Nonetheless, he was a pleasure to watch and listen to.

Philia was beautiful and had a marvelous voice, although I wasn't overly fond of her "valley-girl" portrayal which, instead of being funny and endearing as Philia usually is, occasionally was just plain annoying. Also, there were a lot of instances where she seemed entirely UN-virgin-like, and I've always seen Philia as a very innocent, if not overly bright, young lady.

Senex and Domina were also good, if not outstanding, as were Lycus. Miles looked JUST like the guy from the movie version of Funny Forum and I really loved his voice. Erronius was slightly annoying (all the added lines were a bit much) but still very funny. The company and the band were both wonderful. (I know this is sounding really repetitive, but I really can't say much about everyone except for how funny and entertaining they were!) And MAJOR props to the Protean who looked just like the Elf from Lord of the Rings, especially in that green soldier tunic - I only wished they had played off of that and had him come in with a bow and arrow or something.

The musical numbers were all very well executed, and the audience interplay was wonderful. I saw many creative and hysterical gags that I had never seen in the show before as well as many that are tried-and-true comedic devices (i.e. Rubber chickens). The one number that disappointed me was "Pretty Little Picture" - which is one of my favorite songs in the show but which fell a little flat in this production. The voices were great and the choreography was decent, but it was just wasn't as entertaining as I'm used to.

This was also my first time seeing anything at the Tavern, and I'm definitely looking forward to becoming a regular patron, because I was greatly impressed!

I really wish you could give half points on this site, because this show really deserves a 4.5. Although it wasn't perfect, it was DEFINITELY well worth the ticket price and once again I urge EVERYONE to go see it.

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