“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” reviews starting to come in …

(from left) Patrick James as Senex, Michael Caizzi as Pseudolus, Michael Bartkiewicz as Hysterium, Jordan Bunshaft as Lycus (photo by Jessi Franko Designs LLC)

Photo by Jessi Franko Designs LLC

… and the critics, not just the audience, love it!


John Timpane says in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

There are two keys to a good production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Key 1: a good Pseudolus, wily slave and emcee, master clown, fine vocalist, fourth-wall-busting happy destroyer, and gifted pratfaller.

Key 2: three crazy, talented Proteans. They’re Proteans because they play many roles. They present parts of the story you can’t otherwise see onstage (example: the abduction of the children of Erronius by pirates, which can’t just be told to us but must be shown), and also act as prostitutes, soldiers, slaves, anyone else needed. …

The Princeton Festival production of Funny Thing, through July 1 at the Matthews Acting Studio, jingles these keys in its toga. …

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Neal Zoren had this to say in U.S. 1:

[Director Michael Dean] Morgan’s entire cast deserves praise as individuals and an ensemble. Michael Caizzi is a wily, funny Pseudolus…. Reliable Patrick James graces the festival with another well-drawn portrayal as Senex…. Maxwell Carmel is a simultaneously virile and callow Hero. Matthew Mucha stomps with warrior zeal as Miles Gloriosus. Jordan Bunshaft overdoes admirably as Marcus Lycus….

Roxy York is a commanding Domina…. Stephanie Meadowcroft finds the right blend of coquettishness and denseness for the prize courtesan, Philia.

All of Morgan’s players do their jobs efficiently and amusingly. One does more. That stickout is Michael Bartkiewicz, who makes the prime and fertile role of Hysterium, Senex’s chief slave, funnier and wittier with an intelligent performance that makes the most of every opportunity and nuance.

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Toby Grace in a soon-to-be-published review on OutInJersey.net:

This perennial favorite fully upheld the Princeton Festival’s traditionally high standards in every way. It played to a packed house (SRO) that roared with laughter at all the right moments and applauded until their hands were in danger of damage. When you stop to think about it that is pretty amazing for a show that has its origins over 2,000 years ago in the writings of the Roman satirist Plautus….

The casting for this production merits the highest praise…. This performance moved at lightning speed and had my attention gripped tight right from the opening number.

Michael Caizzi in the lead role of Pseudolus … gave us a high energy performance with perfect comic timing…. Michael Bartkiewicz as the frantically stressed head slave Hysterium and Jordan Bunshaft as the oily procurer  Marcus Lycus (and as Erronius) were comedy treats….

A very special mention must be made of Nate Golden, whose complex and perfectly rehearsed choreography was a joy to watch.

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