Porchlight’s “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” Review – Vaudeville-esque Glee

 

Prepare for ear-to-ear grins without stop, even during intermission.

 

 

Porchlight Music Theatre’s production of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” may leave you wondering about only one thing. 

 

 

Why hasn’t this laugh-a-minute musical comedy been produced in Chicago since 1988? 

 

 

The answer might be that it takes a good-sized cast with impeccable comic timing

 

 

and an ability to carry the catchy tunes, as well as a director able to capture the fun spirit of this creation by Stephen Sondheim (music and lyrics) and Burt Shevelove and Chicago’s own Larry Gelbart (co-authors of the book).

 

 

Porchlight clearly has the goods. 

 

 

Superb direction by Michael Weber, for starts, makes sure you delight in every song lyric and turn of phrase in the script and gives his comic actors lots of room to add gestures and shtick to titillate all the more. 

 

 

It almost seems unfair to point out that Bill Larkin, who stars as Pseudolus, is flawless because every cast member, even those in relatively minor roles doing things like giving fleeting tweeting eunuch noises are just as good. 

 

 

If you don’t belly laugh as Matt Crowe playing Hysterium finds his inner woman you probably are in the midst of one of the worst days of your life.  Anthony Whitaker as Erronius makes very few entrances but every time he does the audience breaks out in giggles. 

 

 

Greg Zawada gives his soldier role of Miles Gloriosus just the right touch of comic caricature.  No need to stop there.  The entire cast shines and all cast members will be well-served by making sure future program notes about them reference this production.  Being part of this cast is something for which they can all be very proud.

 

 

Now until May 24 at Stage 773, 1225 West Belmont Avenue, Chicago

 

For tickets call 773 327 5252 or visit the Porchlight Music Theatre website.

 

-30-

 

Photos:  Anthony La Penna

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