Review: ‘Funny’ things happen

Travel in time back to the decadent Roman Empire as Mohawk High School presents “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” Show times are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. A large cast scurries about the stage in togas, tunics and sandals to present this wacky comedy with music by Stephen Sondheim.

Lost children, mistaken identity, puns, deception and dementia flow freely through the confusing plot. Do not try to derive any profound symbolism or moral lessons from this musical farce. Just relax and enjoy the ride.

The main character, Pseudolus (Wyatt Price), is the first to appear, leading the company in a boisterous rendition of “Comedy Tonight,” complete with a kickline and wave bow. Pseudolus also introduces Luke Gillig, Dominic Smith and Trevor Zendor as the Proteans, who play multiple roles during the course of the action.

As the play begins, the curtain rises on three Roman villas. Pseudolus explains the center one is the home of an elderly man, Senex, his wife, Domina, and their son, Hero, portrayed by Arin Mullins, Erin Conner and Cade Ratliff, respectively. The slave Hysterium (Alexander Mains), looks after the home of Senex. The audience learns Pseudolus is Hero’s slave, and Pseudolus is on a mission to become a free man.

The home on one side belongs to Erronius (Eric Maskey), an old man on a journey to find his children who were carried off by pirates years ago. The other neighbor is Lycus (Mitch Parker), a merchant who runs the Roman equivalent of an escort service. His house is full of lovely young “courtesans” with no particular talents except beauty and charm.

One of them, Philia (Hannah Burks) has caught the eye of Hero, but she has already been spoken for. Captain Gloriosus (Collin Fox) is expected to arrive at any time and claim her. Hero is determined to be with Philia, so he promises Pseudolus his freedom if he can devise a plan for them to escape and be together.

Pseudolus tries every trick in the book to make that happen, but unexpected events complicate the plan.

The courtesans include McKensie Binau and Shantel Weaver as the Geminae, Kayla Draper as Tintinabula; Emily Conner as Panacea; Haley Leeth as Vibrata; Michaela Cook as Gymnasia; and Bri Risner, Amanda Wildman, Heaven Immele, Meghan Chaffee, Kara Theis, Katelyn Seifert, Marissa Leeth, Alison Summer-Ramirez, Kelly Strausbaugh, Tiffany Tompkins, Emily Daniel, Morgan Edgington, Vanessa Stull, Paige Sigler, Maddi Cordell, Kayla Dunlap, Somer Freeman, Allison Price and Megan Cleveland.

The soldiers include Jace Welter, Brady Kohlenberg, Zach Binau and Bradley Chaffee.

Accompanying the singers are David Arter on piano and Alex Dundore on percussion. Kate Niederkohr is directing with Wendy Shellhouse as assistant director.

Tickets are $7. To make reservations, call the school at (419) 927-6222 during school hours.