A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum

May 13 – 28, 2016

A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum

This musical, originally produced on Broadway by Harold S. Prince, has an exceptional pedigree.  The book by Burt Shevlove and Larry Gelbart is all the more engaging with the support of music and lyrics by the brilliant Stephen Sondheim.  Most people will know the opening song of the show ‘Comedy Tonight’, but the skills of Sondheim are projected through a range of songs that tell the story and add to the humour of the script.

A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum is a delightfully funny musical.  Inspired by the farces of the ancient Roman playwright Plautus (251–183 BC), this musical tells the story of a slave named Pseudolus and his attempts to win his freedom by helping his young master woo the girl next door.  The plot displays many classic elements of farce, including puns, the slamming of doors, cases of mistaken identity (frequently involving characters disguising themselves as one another), and satirical comments on social class.

The musical’s original 1962 Broadway run won several Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Author (Musical).  A Funny Thing… has enjoyed several Broadway and West End revivals and was made into a successful film starring the original lead of the musical, Zero Mostel.  The 2012 Australian revival saw Geoffrey Rush following in the footsteps of musical theatre greats who have played the lead role of Pseudolus – Zero Mostel, Phil Silvers and Nathan Lane in the USA, and Frankie Howerd in the UK. In the case of Frankie Howerd, he followed up his role in “Forum” with a very similar character in the British TV series “Up Pompeii!” which went on to become a successful movie of the same name.

This show doesn’t age – it is as popular now as it was when it first hit the Broadway stage.  Dural Musical Society last produced “Forum” in 2003, with Eddie Bruce, Phil O’Connor and Ben Wilson-Hill in the roles of Pseudolus, Hysterium, and Marcus Lycus respectively.  This trio of regular DMS performers enjoyed the show so much that they have returned for the 2016 production, with Phil taking on the role of Director of the show, Eddie in his favourite musical comedy role of the slave who is desperate to be ‘free’, and Ben changing his Marcus Lycus garb for the robes of the hen-pecked husband Senex.

As always, the cast features a number of new members of the Society in key roles, along with some of the popular regular performers.  A number of “gang” members from last year’s highly successful production of “West Side Story” (also a Sondheim show) have swapped the back streets of New York for the ancient paved streets of Rome – Adam Garden, Liam Dailly, Helen Bell, Brooke Stephens, Sarah Aylen, Millie Reid-Alvarez, Laura Murdocca and Max Hearn-Sarchfield take on very different roles in this fast paced musical comedy.  The ensemble cast is rounded out with Tim Chivers, Dennis Channels, Rebeka Kendall, Charlie Hearn-Sarchfield, Tom Oliver, and sisters Mel Hogan and Chelsea Dunn.


Pseudolus Eddie Bruce
Hysterium Adam Garden
Senex Ben Wilson-Hill
Domina Helen Bell
Marcus Lycus Tim Chivers
Hero Joshua Brown
Philia Brooke Stephens
Captain Miles Gloriosus Liam Dailly
Erronius Dennis Channells
Proteans Tom Oliver
Isaak Koorey
Max Hearn-Sarchfield
Charlie Hearn-Sarchfield
Tintinabula Millie Reid-Alvarez
Panacea Laura Murdocca
Panacea Understudy Stephanie Quaglia
Geminae Chelsea Dunn
Mel Hogan
Vibrata Rebeka Kendall
Gynmasia Sarah Aylen
Feathers McCluck Honey Boo-Boo
Production Team:
Director Phil O’Connor
Musical Director Julieanne Patmore
Choreographer Christina O’Neill
Fight Coordinator Phil O’Connor
Stage Manager Daryl Osborne
Lighting Manager John Nawotka
Lighting Assistant Tom Cavanna
Follow-Spot Operator Emily Daniels
Prompt Karen Smyth and Rebecca Dare
Set Design Eddie Bruce and Phil O’Connor
Set Construction Cast & Family and Friends of DMS
Scenic Artists Production Team and Cast
Artistic Consultant Vikki Page
Costumes Judy Clarke and Julie Scargill
Properties Cast
Front of House Friends of DMS
Programme Eddie Bruce and Scott Osborne
Publicity Julie Bruce and Andrew McLean
Sponsorship Julie Bruce and Friends of DMS
Photography Barry Clarke and Tim Scargill
DMS Band
Conductor Julieanne Patmore
Keyboard Louise Fountain
Trumpet Raph Harvey
Warwick Edwards
Reeds Gemma Rolph
Alvin Mak
Jessica Scott
Bass Ben Salmon
Trombone Bien Javier
Percussion Evelyn Kiefel