Phoenix Ensemble's upcoming production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is taking comedy all the way back to its roots – to Ancient Rome!
Running over five weekends from 7 August at Beenleigh’s boutique Pavilion Theatre, Forum delivers an almost constant stream of gags and upbeat songs.
Set 200 years before Christ, the Stephen Sondheim musical is inspired by the farces of Roman playwright Plautus. It tells the tale of a crafty slave who struggles to win the hand of a beautiful but slow-witted courtesan for his young master, in exchange for freedom.
It’s got all the staples of a classic farce, including mistaken identity, slamming doors and bad puns, and director Michael Skelton promises to send audiences home smiling. In fact, he says they’ll do more than laugh - they'll also be part of the show.
"Our twist on this musical comedy is to smash down the fourth wall - the wall between performers and the audience - on the first page. The cast interacts with the crowd and uses all the space in the theatre. The stage can't contain the show!"
Michael says the show has retained it popularity over many years because it delivers 100% comedy.
“Most comedies have that one serious song or scene that seems out of place. Forum is just jokes from start to finish. There are literally two jokes on every page. The script is 110 pages, so I'm guaranteeing 220 jokes.
"Quite simply, it's a funny show that doesn't take itself too seriously. You produce shows you hope the audience will have a good time with, because no one wants to pay to be depressed. Forum was a no-brainer. Great songs, rapid-fire jokes and great roles for talented performers.
"The only unexpected thing we've encountered is some of the togas are a little short.... and that's just on some of the men…”
Michael says to be prepared to see it at least twice, “because you'll miss something through spasms of laughter”.
The production features musical direction by Christine Leah and choreography by Stewie Matthews.
Venue: Pavilion Theatre, Beenleigh Showgrounds, James Street, Beenleigh
7.30pm: 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29 August and 4, 5 September
Tickets: $26 adult, $24 concession and children
Pseudolus- Will Boyd
Hysterium- Connor Bryant
Hero- Isaac Tibbs
Phillia- Bethany Alexander
Senex- Ian Maurice
Domina- Nicole Harrison
Marquette Lycus- Carly Quinn
Miles Gloriosus- Lachlan Clark
Erronius- Brian Byrne
Panacea- Shelley Scott
Geminae- Ainsley Raymer
Vibrata- Stewie Matthews
Gymnasia- Skyah Fishpool
Proteans- Simon Ah Him
Tragics- Shannon Brewley
Director- Michael Skelton
Assistant Director/Choreographer- Shelley Scott
Musical Director- Christine Leah
Choreographer- Stewie Matthews
Stage Manager- Andrew Lea
Lighting Design- Joe Skelton
Set Design- Andrew Lea, Michael Skelton
Costume Design- Carly Quinn