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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at Roleystone Hall - Postponed

Home > Perth > Community Theatre | Performing Arts | Theatre
Published February 26th 2020
Update March 18th 2020
This event has been cancelled.

Sweet Sondheim sounds deliver funny foray into forum farce
A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Rolerystone Theatre, Stephen Sondheim, musical, performing arts, comedy, humour, Roleystone Hall, farce
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum features Paul Treasure, left, as Pseudolus and Peter Carr as Hysterium. Picture: Zyg Woltersdorf


Take a trip back through time and laugh yourself silly as Roleystone Theatre presents the popular Stephen Sondheim musical comedy A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum. Inspired by the farces of ancient Roman playwright Plautus (251-183BC), the musical was originally produced on Broadway in 1962 where it won several Tony Awards.

The musical, directed by Mark Thompson at Roleystone Hall, tells the story of Roman slave Pseudolus who yearns for his freedom, while his young master pines for the girl next door. In exchange for his freedom, Pseudolus promises to find a way to unite the two young lovers but, as always, the course of true love never runs smooth, paving the way for many humorous moments and twists in the tale.

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Rolerystone Theatre, Stephen Sondheim, musical, performing arts, comedy, humour, Roleystone Hall, farce
Terrance Ngai, Ben Small and Taye Wickland are appearing in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Picture: Zyg Woltersdorf


The title of the show stems from a line often used by vaudeville comedians in music hall shows of yesteryear, as they announced: "A funny thing happened on the way to the theatre…"

"The musical combines 2000-year-old comedies with the gaudy, infectious energy of classic vaudeville," Mark said. "It's basically a non-stop laughfest. It has a lot in common with British farces, in that it's unrelentingly fast and full of witty dialogue.

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Rolerystone Theatre, Stephen Sondheim, musical, performing arts, comedy, humour, Roleystone Hall, farce
Terrance Ngai, left, Paul Treasure, Taye Wickland and Ben Small are ready for a Roman farce. Picture: Zyg Woltersdorf

"Towards the end of the show, the musical – which started at a light jog – turns into an all-out sprint to finish. Getting through it without an actor tripping on a doorway or hurting themselves will be a miracle."

Involved in theatre for the past 14 years, Markhas worked with the Koorliny Arts Centre, Murray Music and Drama, Laughing Horse Productions and the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of WA. He has received several best actor or supporting actor nominations at the annual Finley Awards for roles in Beauty and The Beast, Cinderella, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying and Oliver!

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Rolerystone Theatre, Stephen Sondheim, musical, performing arts, comedy, humour, Roleystone Hall, farce
Terrance Ngai, left, Nicole George, Elizabeth Smith, Ben Small, Jamie Lange, Rachael McCallum and Taye Wickland are appearing in the musical comedy. Picture: Zyg Woltersdorf

"I've wanted to direct a musical for the past three or four years but couldn't quite settle on one I wanted to do," Mark said. "I knew I wanted to do a classic – something funny and charming.

"When someone mentioned Forum, I bought a copy of the soundtrack and practically listened to nothing else for about a month. Everybody Ought to Have a Maid is now a banned song in my home."

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Rolerystone Theatre, Stephen Sondheim, musical, performing arts, comedy, humour, Roleystone Hall, farce
Philia (Arianne Westcott-King, left) and Hero (Chris Alvaro) in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Picture: Zyg Woltersdorf


Arianne Westcott-King plays Philia, a courtesan with no education. "But she is dedicated to fulfilling her duties, even if it's in a vengeful way," she said. "Philia is full of life and, despite being sold to a captain, she attempts to have agency over herself and her actions. Portraying an uneducated female character is a challenge in today's world.

"Being a person who advocates for equity and education, I have found some difficulty putting aside my modern sensibilities to play a character who is so often literally moved around by men due to her gender. Philia is one of the very few women in this show, which is a result of the time it was written, but it's still challenging to portray a character like her while still wanting to represent women as equals."

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Rolerystone Theatre, Stephen Sondheim, musical, performing arts, comedy, humour, Roleystone Hall, farce
Senex (David Major, left) and Philia (Arianne Westcott-King) in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Picture: Zyg Woltersdorf


Involved in theatre for the past 11 years, Arianne appeared in numerous productions while at John Curtin College of the Arts. After graduating, she was an ensemble member in Oklahoma! at the Regal Theatre in 2015 followed by Roleystone Theatre's production of the same show in 2017.

Arianne has also performed with Blak Yak Theatre in the musicals First Date and Atomic and Grey Lantern Productions' 5 Lesbians Eating A Quiche at the 2018 Fringe World. "It was Sondheim's music that introduced me to musical theatre so I jumped at the chance to be a part of one of his shows," she said.

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Rolerystone Theatre, Stephen Sondheim, musical, performing arts, comedy, humour, Roleystone Hall, farce
Take a journey back to Roman times with Arianne Westcott-King, left, Rachael McCallum, Jamie Lange, Trevor Graveson, Elizabeth Smith and Nicole George. Picture: Zyg Woltersdorf

"I also loved the soundtrack for A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum when I was young. The show itself is such a fun comedy that I knew it would be an all-round good production to be part of."

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum plays 2pm March 28 and April 4; 7.30pm March 28, April 3 and 4; and 5.30pm March 29. Tickets are $25, $20 concession – book at www.trybooking.com/BITWB. Roleystone Hall is at 44 Jarrah Road (corner of Wygonda Road), Roleystone.

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Rolerystone Theatre, Stephen Sondheim, musical, performing arts, comedy, humour, Roleystone Hall, farce
Paul Treasure, left, Chris Alvaro, David Major, Shelly Whiteaker and Peter Carr are rockin' Romans in the musical. Picture: Zyg Woltersdorf
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Why? Broadway's greatest farce is light, fast-paced, witty, irreverent and one of the funniest musicals ever written.
When: 2pm March 28 & April 4; 7.30pm March 28, April 3 & 4; 5.30pm March 29
Where: Roleystone Hall, 44 Jarrah Road (corner of Wygonda Road), Roleystone
Cost: $25, $20 concession
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