"Something exotic, something erotic…there's
something for everyone… tragedy tomorrow, but - Comedy Tonight!" Just
one or two funny lines from A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum,
the opening number (of sixteen) in this highly amusing collection of Sondheim's
more risible songs from his shows. All calculated to raise a smile or two or
Millicent Martin muses, "but ohhh, 'can that
boy Foxtrot' a grocery clerk he's not too clean and quite mean. As dumb bells
go, he's rather slow - but "who needs Albert Schweizer when the lights
low?" And when David Kernan prises his spouse and tells Millicent 'You
must meet my wife', he enthuses "She twitters" - "What is she
a bird?" and that "She'd strike you as unenlightened", to which
Milly ripostes tartly, "No, I'd strike her first!"
The great late lamented Madeleine Kahn (Blazing
Saddles, Young Frankenstein and What's Up Doc?) gets ever
more panicky on her wedding day. Exchange with her fiancé: – "Where are
my cufflinks?" "On the dresser right next to my suicide note".
And the heavenly choir. "Bless the bride totally insane, slipping down
the drain… and bless this day in our hearts as it starts to rain (thunder and
Angela Lansbury muses that innumerable cats have
disappeared as she boasts, from Sweeney Todd, that she makes The Worst
Pies in London and how she invites Sweeney Todd (Leon Cariou) to taste A
Little Priest (not as bland as curate). ("Is that Squire on the fire?")
Debbie Shapiro, Faith Princer and Susann Fletcher
bemoan their lives as strippers in 'You've gotta have a gimmick' from Gypsy.
"You can pull all the stops out 'til they call the cops out, grind
your behind until you're bare but you gotta have a gimmick to get ahead… You
can sacrifice your sacro.. working in the back row but you gotta have a gimmick
… I do it with a horn!"
Cleo Laine's handsome young guard had warned her
"…once is nice but I never do anything twice…" in 'The Little Things
You Do Together' from Company. Since then she has stipulated when dealing
with barons, bishops etc – "Once yes, once, once is a lark but twice looses
the spark… Once is delicious but twice can be vicious or just repetitious…"
Just a few of the laughs in Comedy Tonight – a tonic.