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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

a Musical Comedy
by Sondheim

COMPANY : Kudzu Playhouse [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Kudzu Playhouse [WEBSITE]
ID# 1213

SHOWING : April 01, 2005 - May 07, 2005



This beloved Sondheim musical tells the story of love, mistaken identity and a search for freedom in ancient Rome. Much running about, several misunderstandings and an enjoyable adventure for the lovers, slaves, captains and courtesans. This "Lovely" night out will leave you in stitches and promises "A Comedy Tonight."

Cast Wally Hinds
Director Wally Hinds
co-Musical Director Peggy Davis
tech Melissa Michele Goodfellow
co-Musical Director Mark W. Schroeder
piano Peggy Davis
synthesizer Mark W. Schroeder
Hero Scott Christopher
GYMNASIA Kelly Elizabeth Grady
MILES Len Hedges-Goettl
Domina Sarah Mason
Pseudolus Jason Meinhardt
PANACEA Brandy Meinhardt
SENEX Brink Miller
PHILIA Amanda Leigh Pickard
Protean Mark W. Schroeder
LYCUS Tom Thon
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


A pretty funny thing
by SCrowder04
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
I have seen this show on a few stages, most recently, at the Shakespeare Tavern. The main differences between the two productions is that the Shakespeare Tavern's "Forum" obviously had money on their side (set, costumes, etc.) and the Tavern's cast was more talented all around. Not to say that Kudzu did not assemble a cast of extremely talented individuals but it was just that, individuals. Not the whole cast. But I am not going to compare the two any more than that (well, I'll try not to).

The first thing that hits you is the orchestra. The overture was good, but a little weak at times. However, as the show continued, they improved tremendously. The next thing that comes is the introduction to Pseudolus (played by Jason Meinhardt). I have seen him in a few other shows and at first, I was not sure how he would pull off a role that has traditionally been cast as older. I was also not sure if his comic talents were strong enough to make Pseudolus believable and yet make me laugh as hard as I did. Jason quickly changed my mind and he had me red in the face with laughter. He has the strongest singing voice I have seen in a Pseudolus (even more than Nathan Lane, from what I can tell of the cast recording) and made Pseudolus his own. I didn't think about Zero Mostel (from the film), Nathan Lane, or the actor who did it at the Tavern. He was definitely the driving force of this show.

The rest of the principal cast was fairly strong. Tyler Shaker as Hysterium, although not quite the strength of Jeff McKerley (one of my favorite Atlanta clowns), still made me laugh and the chemistry between him and Pseudolus was priceless in their hilarious number towards the end of the show. Brink Miller (my favorite Scrooge in Atlanta), was very funny and well cast as the dirty old man, Senex. The others (Hero, Philia, Domina, Lycus) were well cast and equally as talented. I have not seen any of these actors before, but would definitely welcome them back in future productions. The dancing courtesans were good, but the dances could use some work. They all seemed to be done on the fly and even though they all seemed to be experienced dancers, they had no direction. But they were all beautiful and their introduction scene with Pseudolus was hysterical and sexy at the same time. The Proteans, for the most part, were good. However, the opening number was uneventful and would have loved to have seen more acrobatics/flair as I have seen in other Forums. Miles (played by Len Hedges-Goettl, who I have seen before at another theater), was not exactly what I always have in mind when I think of the brute Captain. But admittedly, he had me laughing and did his job pretty well.

I would say, the biggest problem I had was with the direction. The staging was average, at best. I suppose when you have seen the show before, you tend to pay attention to minor details that your average audience member would not. Plus, being an actor and a director myself, I usually watch things like that with a critical eye. A personal flaw, but I do, nonetheless. I think the chorus as a whole, when singing together, needed some work and maybe it was just an "off day". The costumes were good and the set, when revealed, is done well with the space they have to work with. I know, I am giving it a 4 and really it should be a 3.5. The reason I am generous with my rating is that the performances of the actors I mentioned were above and beyond the past productions I saw and the fact that they take up most of the stage time, it made it a very enjoyable experience. Its early in the run and I think a lot of the little flaws will work out and if I could see it again towards the end, I will. Maybe then it will be a full "4". I highly recommend this show, especially if you want to see some of Atlanta's top talent. You might just have to ignore some of the flaws, but its not hard when you are laughing as hard as I was. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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