The success or failure of any comedy is dependent upon rigorous comic timing and the level of commitment the actors bring to their respective roles. It's analogous to the internal movement of a fine vintage timepiece. If any part of the mechanism fails, the watch stops. In the context of comedy, that means the humor falls flat.
I’m happy to report that all members of the South Bay Musical Theatre operate like clockwork. The large cast, directed with the deft hand and creative finesse of Walter M. Mayes, act in unison to deliver a delightful and mildly risque romp set in an imaginary ancient Rome.
The setting is not wholly inauthentic, however, inasmuch as the play draws heavily from the works of the period by Titus Plautus. One of the earliest known playwrights in Latin literature, he is the progenitor for what is considered “modern” farce.
Joe Colletti is perfectly cast as Pseudolus, "master of ceremonies" for this daffy ensemble. He exudes a blithe presence and sets the tempo with a smooth confidence. A chain of uniformly talented actors supports him without a weak link among them. The standouts are too numerous to mention, but one would be remiss without recognizing the hilarious contribution and unbridled enthusiasm of Chuck Manthe as Hysterium. Suffice it to say the character’s name suits him!
The staging, choreography, costumes, lighting and set design are all first-rate and executed with the type of professionalism one has come to expect from SBMT. Musical accompaniment by the live chamber orchestra serves to enhance the experience. And it’s the attention to detail, such as the nicely painted curtain, the addition of a vaudevillian style opening act, and the ingenious use of some wooden blocks, that set this production apart from the usual fare.
Once again, it’s a pleasure to encourage everyone to patronize this priceless treasure in the South Bay. SBMT