A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Date 19th April 2012
Society Broughty Ferry Amateur Operatic Society
Venue Gardyne Theatre, Dundee
Type of Production Musical?
Director Frances Irons
Musical Director Don Grieve

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Author: Ron Stewart

Choreographer: Frances Irons

This piece, inspired by the farces of the ancient Roman playwright Plautus, tells the story of a slave named Pseudolus and his attempts to win his freedom by helping his young master woo the girl next door. The plot displays elements of Up Pompeii and is reminiscent of the Brian Rix Whitehall farces. The Stephen Sondheim score is, as usual extremely complicated but the singers coped very well. However the small pit orchestra was a bit under-strength and slightly unbalanced. Having said that, the production was very funny and the superb two-story set was very well used by the company, each of whom had a named part. Leading this was Ken Peebles who opened the piece as Prologus and seamlessly converted to Pseudolus, carrying the very wordy part with only the occasional help from the prompter! George Hutchison was in excellent form as Senex and was well under the control of his powerful wife (in voice as well as manner) Domina (Elizabeth Wylie). The young romantic roles of Hero (Richard Waghorn) and Phylia (Lisa Murray) were excellently played – and sung, as was the part of the owner of the house of ill repute Lycus, in the experienced hands of Roger Buist. The other slave of the piece, Hysterium, was very capably played by George Anderson who didn’t miss a chance to wring every laugh from his part. The remaining courtesans and proteans with their long-striding captain Miles Gloriosus, (Stuart Whyte) ensured a most enjoyable evening was hopefully had by all.