I see you’re in a dilemma: you need to chill, but have watched all the reruns of your favourite T.V. shows. “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Forum” is the balm to your woes. It’s a farcical play with slapstick humour dished out through rib-tickling song and dance sequences.
The story follows the misadventures of a young man who falls in love with a betrothed courtesan, and of his quick-witted slave who concocts twisted schemes to help him. You’ll find yourself clinging to each detail, following each turn carefully while sitting on the edge, thoroughly amused.
The actors are utterly immersed in their characters. Sophie Ward, who plays Senex, is a delight to watch. She effortlessly (and with great panache) picks up the nuances and the body language of the old man, as if it is her split personality. Her dance moves are bound to elicit guffaws from the audience – and they still do from her fellow actors, who have watched this routine way too many times already. Claire Parry, who plays the slave Pseudolus, complements Sophie with a versatile range of expressions and a cheerful agility.
Bernadette Johns (Domina) is someone to watch out for. With a commanding voice she sings her laments, accompanied by a dose of neuroticism that suits her character perfectly. I only got to see part of the cast performing, but if the glimpses they offered makes you want to watch further, you’re bound to have a winner.
Directed by Lucy Wood and by Florentine Salmony, with Mikey Pandya as the musical director, the play is part of an old college tradition upheld by the Eglesfield Music Society. It invites students to step out of their colleges and to explore Queen’s charming, gated community. The actors sing and a full orchestra accompanies them, and the campus is their stage, which they weave into the play. Think Shakespeare, but in a contemporary language you can understand, and enjoy a frabjous, musical evening!
“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” will play at Queen’s college gardens at 7.30 pm, from 21st to 24th May, and costs 7.70 pounds per ticket.