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Companies Reviewed#
The New American Shakespeare Tavern1
Average Rating Given : 5.00000
Reviews in Last 6 months :

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, by Stephen Sondheim, Burt Shevelove, Larry Gelbart
A Funny Thing is Some Thing!
Saturday, January 25, 2003
We wondered, we whispered, we mulled it over: a musical at the Shakespeare Tavern? And why this particular musical? How on earth could the Tavern pull it off?

One word: superbly.

I've been attending ASC productions for decades, now, and I have rarely seen anything better. It was such a pleasure to see Clark Taylor back; as Pseudolus, he has a wonderful blend of wry, quietly raucous humor and shrewd observation. As for Brandon Odell as Hero, and Viveka Chandrasekavan as Phillia, the criss-crossed lovers: what perfect shallowness! (that's a compliment!) Both have lovely voices, a bit light, so that sometimes there was difficulty punching through the music, but all in all, good job. I am familiar with Daniel J. Cook, Miles Gloriosus, in the roles he has played (including Henry VIII) at the Georgia Renaissance Festival, and knew he was a good singer, but I had no idea how powerfully good a singer he was until this show. All of the crew, cast and musicians did a wonderful job ( Jeff Watkins! The sax! David Rood on trumpet! Time for a Shakespeare Jazz Quartet!) and the night was a blast.

But, I have to say, the wonder of the night was Jeff McKerley. It is very difficult to be a physical comedian and not take away attention from your fellow actors. This is a difficulty that the Tavern has had again and again, especially in recent years. But McKerley's physicality, while always up and ready, flows and weaves in and out of the scene, and around his castmates, not over them. He not only talks the funny talk, he listens with a quiet ear. He's present, he's with his fellows, he's with his audience, it's a joy. The tongue astounds, of course! I have never seen a tongue do what he can do with it! But even when he really lays on the schtik, it never seems like a cheap trick.

As for the choice of Forum for a Shakespeare company: how many Shakespearean plots does this script borrow from anyway? Good to see the borrowed ideas returned in such a fun, fun, way...


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