Springville’s “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” is Filled with Artful Delight

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By Colton Redmund

As part of Springville’s Art City Days, Springville Playhouse is performing A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and this show stands by its opening song’s lyrics, it’s “A Comedy Tonight.”

The play written by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim is about a slave who tries to earn his freedom by getting a beautiful woman to fall in love with his master. Things don’t work out quite that way, otherwise it wouldn’t make for a very good show.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is being performed at Merit College Preparatory Academy in Springville, a smaller theater and smaller stage but what it lacks in stage space it makes up for in its tone. The minute you walk in, the pre-show music and set help set the mood for the show–a light-hearted story about Ancient Rome and big characters.

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Some of the highlights in the show are Pseudolus, Hysterium and Miles Gloriosus. Everyone in the cast did amazing, but these three stood out the most to me. Pseudolus (Karl Young) is the play’s lead, a schemer who always had some trick, and if the trick didn’t work out, he had a trick to try and fix that. Hysterium (David Chapa) was one of my personal favorites. Loveable and funny, he is a little high-strung, but can you blame him with Pseudolus always messing things up? Hysterium tries to do the right thing and that’s never easy and he’s just hilarious. (Not to mention his hair is fantastic.) Miles Gloriosus (Isaac Davidson) steals the show. His booming voice, his towering presence, and his intensity all make his character pop.

The costumes were colorful and though this wasn’t authentic, it went well with the comic nature of the musical. The hat used in one scene, a 70s “Shack” hat, was hilarious. The set was wonderful for the space they had. It was open—and since this took place in Greece, it worked very well.

Thanks to Music Director Rachel Aylworth, the musical numbers were all very catchy and fun, with songs like “A Comedy Tonight”, “Free”, and “Lovely.” You’ll get the lyrics and tunes stuck in your head, and the performance of these songs are done so well and everybody helps add to that. The ensemble numbers were great. And many of the actors were veterans and they really had a great sound. It was fun to see these veterans help the newer actors—this is what community theater is all about.

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Kathy Young’s directions made the show sparkle by choosing some experienced actors and some newer performers. The energy was high and you could tell the cast had that real family relationship. She did a great job in the chase scene—it didn’t go on too long, and there were no pauses that took forever. She handled the physical comedy brilliantly.

Overall, I had a very enjoyable and fun evening with only one real problem, the small audience size. This show deserves a larger audience so I urge you all to go see this great and funny show!

The show runs June 2, 3, 5, 9, 10, 12, 16, 17, 19, 23, and 24, at Merit College Preparatory Academy, 1440 West Center Street, Springville UT. Doors open at 7:00 PM and the show begins at 7:30 PM. $10 for adults, $8 for students/senior citizens. You can find them online at www.springvilleplayhouse.com.

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