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Cappies: 'A (fine) Comedy Tonight' at Bishop DuBourg

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 25, 2013 - Complete with dazzling costumes, beautiful harmonies and witty dialogue, "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" at Bishop DuBourg High School did not disappoint.

Set in ancient Rome, this timeless tale tells the story of the creative and quirky slave Pseudolus and his quest to win his freedom by setting up his master, Hero, with a beautiful neighbor girl named Philia. This is not as easy as it seems, for Philia, a courtesan, has already been sold to the intimidating captain, Miles Gloriosus. There was never a dull moment during this lively production, for chaos ensues as the characters face interesting situations.

With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart, the musical opened on Broadway in May 1962. It went on to win several Tony Awards, including the coveted best musical. With the hilarious characters and catchy tunes, DuBourg’s production earned much-deserved laughs and applause from the audience.

The talented cast brought life and energy to the show, delivering humorous one-liners with ease. Pseudolus (Mario Meyer), with his powerful stage presence and ability to easily engage the audience, was brilliant while portraying the slave who longs for freedom. He and the chief slave Hysterium (Evan Turek) made a great team, and the dynamic duo was a joy to watch. Hero (Jordan Wolk) gave a convincing performance, and it was interesting to watch his relationship develop with the lovely Philia (Elizabeth Burnes).

Also notable was Hero’s father, Senex (Andrew Cheli), who also longs for the beautiful Philia, a fact he must hide from his stubborn, manipulative wife, Domina (Hannah Gibbons). Both portrayed their characters with conviction and heart. Marcus Lycus (Devin Cox), owner of the neighboring house, made his character memorable with his comedic performance. In addition, Miles Gloriosus (Aaron Randall), with his impressive vocals and authoritative nature, genuinely portrayed the boastful captain.

The elaborate costumes perfectly embodied the time period, and the vibrant colors added to the scenes. Though diction could have been slightly improved at times, the cast quickly made up for this by bringing engaging characterizations and constant energy to the stage.

Each member of the cast was talented and convincing and gracefully brought the chaotic tale to life. Harmonies were delivered with ease, and the characters’ dance moves were perfectly in sync. An especially notable number was “Everybody Ought to Have a Maid,” the absolutely hilarious scene that did not fail to make the audience laugh.

The memorable characters, upbeat musical numbers, and unique story allowed Bishop DuBourg’s excellent cast to shine. This fantastic production full of plot twists and pure hilarity provided for a wonderful evening.

Olivia Ellis is a student at Nerinx Hall High School. The Cappies program works with students who review high school theatrical productions.

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