'Forum': Fits of laughter at Navy

February 20, 1996|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Maybe all roads do lead to Rome.

Not three weeks after viewing the wildly successful Chesapeake Music Hall version of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" comes a second production of the same hilarious musical, this one courtesy of the Naval Academy Glee Club.

"Forum" is one of the better offerings to come from the academy in recent years. David White and Barry Talley have collaborated to produce a fast-paced, well-sung, side-splitting show that had Saturday's audience dissolving into fits of laughter.

NB When you program "Forum," you go only as far as Pseudolus will

take you, for without a top-notch comic as the slave who'll do, say and try anything to win his freedom, there will be long silences where the laughs should be.

There was plenty of noise during the weekend, thanks to Anthony Magrogan, who is excellent in the starring role. His premature smiles may telegraph the occasional joke, but otherwise Mr. Magrogan is an agile, quick-tongued, rubber-faced clown who animates the proceedings with great elan.

He is complemented beautifully by David Collins as Hysterium. With his bright red hair and "aw shucks" good looks, Mr. Collins may look like Huck Finn's older brother, but he delivers the slave-in-chief's hyperactive shtick with the acumen of a poised vaudevillian. He also makes a cute blond.

Also notable are Mickey Brons as the henpecked Senex; Clayton Hahs, who sings exceptionally well as Hero, the doltish, lovesick boy; and Peter Halvorsen, who had the audience convulsing at his doddering old Erronius.

Kudos also to Tony Holds, who prattled, paraded and preened with patrician pizazz as the pompous Miles Gloriosus.

Female voices aren't in the same category as the fellows', but Susan Wisch warbles satisfactorily as Philia and Chris Picado makes a delightfully shrewish impression as Domina.

"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" at Mahan Hall at the Naval Academy Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. Ticket prices range from $6 to $10. Call 268-6060 for reservations.

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