A Funny Thing Happened…a parent’s review of the final night
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum – 30 March – 2 April
Saturday night’s performance saw the school Memorial Hall packed to the rafters, with some children seated on the floor and standing room only: an audience rightly deserved for a cast and production team who have worked their socks off to bring to the stage a tricky Sondheim musical. A Funny Thing Happened…requires subtle nuances in acting and a singing ability that encompasses range and pace to keep both the tempo of the play and the humour of the piece.
The performance started with Pseudolus, on this night played by Ryland Davies, introducing the scene and the cast in a lively and convincing way, which let us feel like we were in for a good night’s entertainment. He kept this energy throughout the performance, which was admirable, as it was a demanding humorous role that required animated mannerisms as well as more subtle ones.
As the story unfolded in front of our eyes we met the lover, Hero, played by Andre Deimling, and his parents: Senex, played by Constantin Grychta, and his wife Domina, played by Arabella Saunders; and their other slave Hysterium, who truly lived up to his name, and was notably one of the most amusing characters in the performance. Well done to William Fishwick for that.
One of my favourite roles was Marcus Lycus played by Padrig Goodwin. A buyer and seller of beautiful women, Padrig played this part with zeal and conviction, and his banter with the other main characters worked to perfection. Philia, the other lover, played by Fabienne Brauns, was lovely, with a clear, true voice that rose above the orchestra.
No performance, however, will work without all the very important supporting roles and the whole cast throwing their all into it, and Saturday night saw a true team effort where everyone pulled together, from Year 7 pupils to the Sixth form. The story was funny, witty, fast and lively, and there were no dull moments that you were hoping would pass quickly. Well done to the incredibly enthusiastic and somewhat raunchy courtesans, the bold yet fearsome soldiers – especially Ashley Jones, who not only had to act and sing but had to carry around excruciatingly heavy armour the whole time – and the versatile Proteans, and to the very funny Jennifer Ehrenstrom, who caused a titter every time she arrived back from yet another walk around the Roman Hills.
It may not have been exactly like the version played by Phil Silvers and Buster Keaton, but it really made me laugh and most of the audience as well, and this is a true testament to the work put in by the directors, Denis Lavin and Leah Cunnah, the actors, and all the backstage team and musicians without whom none of this would have been possible…. Starting to sound like an Oscars speech! Well done, Rydal Penrhos Dramatic Society.
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