II Thumbs Up for FC Production of Forum

Fullerton College Hornet  - Julie Anne Ines - Tuesday, March 8th, 2005
Lend Me Your Ears - Aaron Williams (Protean #2), Robert Henke (Hysterium), Matthew Kelaway (Protean #1), Lindsey Conway (Geminae 1),and Cory Reeder (top, Lycus) are all apart of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum's" stellar cast.

Don't ask me if I remember the songs. Don't .ask me what I learned. Don't even ask me about the plot; I vaguely remember what it was about. (Did the cross-dressing come before or after the male-on-male kiss?)

One of the only things I remember is a guy two rows in front of me convulsing in laughter . as a bird viciously attacked a fairy-tale princess like blonde (Amy Bloom as Philia) as she paraded atop a balcony in proper fairy tale princess like fashion.

All I remember is that the evening I watched A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, now playing through March 12 in the Carripus Theatre, was the most fun, and satisfying, experience in live theatre that I've had in a long time.

Despite some minor technical sound problems, Forum's energetic cast, impressive staging, beautiful backgrounds and costumes, live orchestra conducted by Bruce Babad and choreography by John Vaughan unite in a·production that delivers what it promises: morals tomorrow and comedy tonight.·

It delivers a Coliseum-sized amount of entertainment and laughs that keep on coming.

While the entertainment value of Stephen Sondheim's Forum can be attributed to the strength of the original material, it would not be as entertaining without a strong understanding of comedy from the cast.

Under the direction of Gary Kiinke, the cast skillfully, .almost effortlessly, flits from one scene to another with well-timed jokes and jabs.

It seems like there's something for everyone.

A house of ill repute with courtesans that can form the entire alphabet with their bodies; eunuchs speaking · in falsetto; a Barbie doll blonde who can't count any higher than three; a crossdressing servant; a burly, Roman general convinced of his own prowess and virility; a weak husband and a whip-wielding wife;· mistaken identities; allusions to American Idol, Fear Factor, Avenue Q, Wicked, Evita, Titanic,The . Bachelor and a number of other pop culture references; and a trio of guys who play everything from soldiers to flower-petal-tossing cherubs.

While the characters themselves border on the ridiculous, the vocal performances of the actors and actresses that play them show some serious musicality.

Like the comedy, the songs are delivered with skill and effortlessness.

It's difficult to pick out just one or two performances from the surprisingly strong cast.

'Of note, however, is the character Pseudolus, played by Joshua Lay, the slave who spends the duration of the production trying to gain his freedom by bringing his young master and a courtesan together.

Lay delivers his songs with charm and an innate sense of comedic timing.

What results is a character that you can't help but root for and a singer that is a joy to listen to.

Another character to look out for is Hero, Pseudolus' young master, played by Robert Parkison.

The gangly Parkison seems perfectly fit to play the fresh-out-of-adolescence virginal Hero.

I don't know if he intends to do it or if it's just the way he sings, but you almost expect him to squeak or · change vocal registers mid-song. If it's the former, bravo.

You may not recall the plot detail for detail and you may not even leave whistling the tunes.

However, if you're looking for a memorable experience you need not look any further than the FC Theatre ·Arts Departments production. of Forum,

It gets a "thumbs up'' in my book ..