Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum : 42nd Street Moon : Mostly a Success

“A Funny Thing…” owes as much to 20th century vaudeville as it does Plautine comedy of ancient Rome, and it remains true to all comedic epochs in between. Interestingly, it has much in common with A.C.T.’s current adaptation of the Moliere farce, Scapin.

The latter, however, has the advantage of having the central role performed by the inimitable Mr. Irwin. Here, we have Megan Cavanagh, playing the quintessential male central character, Pseudolus, with less than stellar results.

Ms. Cavanagh gives the role her all, but her comic talents are slight, as is her boyish voice which proved to be ill-suited even for the forgiving spatial dimensions offered by the Eureka Theatre.

Thankfully, the play works mostly as an ensemble piece, and much of the casting is actually quite inspired. Most notably, Rob Hatzenbeller as the classic braggart soldier, Miles Gloriosis, and Michael Rhone as the hysterically “calm” head slave, Hysterium. If scene-stealing were a capital crime, they’d be sitting on death row!

Playing to a full house, the minimal production values were enhanced by the small confines provided by its intimate venue. Kudos to 42nd Street Moon for once again resuscitating a Broadway standard. This surefire crowd-pleaser is time and dinarii well-spent...

P.S.: I've learned that on the day of this performance Ms. Cavanagh's sister had passed away. This undoubtedly explains her subdued performance. I offer my condolences...

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