Published on May 8th, 2013 | by RLn Staff0
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
By John Farrell, Curtain Call Writer
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum has become a perennial hit.
It was at Long Beach Playhouse a year or more ago, and there seems to be a version somewhere all the time. No matter. The show is full of great songs and requires a cast that has more respect for laughs than anything else. It always works. Even a performance that is slightly uneven, like that mounted at the Huntington Beach Playhouse, has more than enough in performance values to make a trip. Mind you, this isn’t an altogether great performance.
The first act is great. Eric Hindley plays, Pseudolus, the conniving slave. Gregory Doyle as Lycus and Steve Shane as Hysterium can take us anywhere they want. Cris Cortez is an engaging Hero and Taylor Magee’s Philia has a perfect voice and charm to spare. Russell Montooth is very impressive as Miles Gloriosus, despite his height.
But there is that second act. It starts well, but the final, frenetic ending, where people come and go at a hilariously rapid pace. There were 20- and 30-second pauses between each entrance, a decision that director Greg Cohen must have made to slow down the finale and leave the audience just a bit disappointed.
Sets and costumes were not up to the Huntington Beach Playhouse standards. Mind you, the play doesn’t require much, but it was obvious that corners had been cut and financial problems might be in evidence. Huntington Beach Playhouse has recently reduced its program to four musicals and no plays at all, and it would be a shame if they had to make more cuts.
The playhouse auditorium, in the library complex, has great sight lines and very comfortable seats, and a trip down there, with a stop for a meal at one of the many local restaurants, (Little Saigon is right next door) would make a great trip.
Tickets are $20, and $18 for students and seniors. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. through May 26.