Gordon Roberts and Shauna Baird are among the cast in Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre’s A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, on now through Aug. 11. Photo by Rebekah Johnson

REVIEW: Enjoy a belly laugh with Blue Bridge Theatre at the Roxy

Sondheim’s A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum will leave you in high spirits

By Sheila Martindale

Monday Magazine theatre reviewer

Normally I am not a huge fan of slapstick, but I absolutely LOVED Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre’s A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at the Roxy Theatre.

What’s not to like about this crazy show, filled with exuberant singing, inoffensive innuendo and split-second timing?

This spoof on ancient Rome is peopled with a set of unlikely characters, including a pair of over-the-top soldiers (Sean Baker and Gabriel MacDonald); an unhappily married couple played by Shauna Baird and Gordon Roberts; a dotty mother (Iris Bannerman) looking for her lost children; Jacob Richmond as a sleazy brothel-keeper; Kieran Foss as the shy young man in love with the virgin Phylia who is destined for life as a high-class prostitute – all of these characters are topped off a weird collection of courtesans – and the real comedians, Damon Calderwood and Britt Small as slaves engineering the entire madcap scenario!

Did I mention a plot? Well, a story about the slave Psuedelous trying to buy her freedom by setting her young master, Hero, up with the girl of his dreams sort of holds these zany folks together and gives them a place to hang their idiotic hats. Great fun!

There is not a single weak moment or below-par character in this ridiculous musical comedy from 1963. Small and Calderwood get the gold stars for being so absurdly funny, but all the minor characters are gems in their own right, adding to the visual magnetism of the show. Jana Morrison shows some stunning dance moves, and Carter Gulseth and Cieran Volke use their bodies in a most sensational fashion!

Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics are brisk and clever and the whole cast have great singing voices. Actually, I think they could all have been quite audible without their ear microphones, as the sound was almost too much at times. But it was clear that everyone was having a rollicking good time, and they drew their audience in with their enthusiasm and energy.

The cast and crew will all be due for a good rest when the show closes Aug. 11. Director Kevin McKendrick deserves applause (or a medal) for keeping everyone on track, as this performance could easily have got completely out of hand. And kudos to Brian Ball for the inventive costumes, and for the simple set, which has the required number of doors and openings to accommodate a true farce.

If it’s time for you to let go of life’s pressures with a good belly laugh, be sure to see A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. For tickets go to bluebridgetheatre.ca or call 250-382-3370.



editor@mondaymag.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Taking risks: Victoria theatre expert and author gains traction for his new model of tragedy

Edwin Wong releases Risk Theatre book, hosts successful global playwriting competition

Award-nominated Snotty Nose Rez Kids headline this weekend’s Indigifest 2019 in Esquimalt

Aug. 24 event at Esquimalt Gorge Park showcases Indigenous musicians, artists from around B.C.

Region’s 250th Little Free Library installed in Victoria

Greater Victoria now has the highest density of mapped little libraries in the country

PHOTO GALLERY: Cyclists were all smiles during ninth Tour de Victoria

More than 2,100 cyclists participated, locals and visitors alike

WINE NOTES: Going gaga over B.C. Gewürztraminer

Robert Moyes offers up some interesting late-summer vino choices

VIDEO: Could we BE any more excited? ‘Friends’ fans go crazy for merch

Movie theatres will show select episodes to mark the NBC series’ 25th anniversary

Margaret Atwood talks Handmaid’s Tale sequel at UVic

Sold-out Sept. 27 event illustrates iconic Canadian author’s popularity in literary haven of Victoria

For the Love of Fibre: Fibrations 2019 wrapup

Fibre arts celebrated through demonstrations and market showcasing locally made items

Tour de Victoria: Giving you the down low on detours around the region

Thousands of cyclists participating in ninth Tour de Victoria on Saturday

Christopher Auchter’s story headed to the international stage at Toronto International Film Fest

Old Massett totem pole raising revisited in Christopher Auchter’s documentary Now Is The Time

Saanich Peninsula student scores only scholarship for Canadians offered by top U.S. music school

Stelly’s grad Isaiah Carvalhal-Smith and his electric bass off to Boston after successful audition

Yellow Wolf Powwow draws dancers from across Canada

Saanichton event a celebration of Indigenous culture

Victoria-based elephant advocate fighting to end ivory trade

Founder of World Elephant Day hopes to spread awareness, add political pressure

Most Read