\"Satyricon\" at MBS Productions

Review: Satyricon | MBS Productions | Stone Cottage Theatre

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Decorum

The long, lowbrow Satyricon delivers raunchy laughs at MBS Productions.

published Saturday, July 23, 2011

What could be funnier than two over-the-hill Roman gladiators and mercenaries trying to make ends meet (literally and figuratively) as they encounter sex-hungry matrons, middlebrow food orgies, incontinent hosts, and forced impotence cures? Ouch! 

How about the same two guys snarling jealously over a scrawny slave boy in pink body paint and makeup? It's all there in Mark-Brian Sonna's premiere of his stage adaptation of Satyricon, a bawdy first century Roman novel by Gaius Petronius, set in AD 62, now playing at MBS Productions in the Stone Cottage at Addison Theatre Centre.

The most fun in this two-hour comedy is in the why-not attitude and silly gawkiness of Philip Gage, in the role of the retired gladiator Encolpius, who also has the job of narrating the lengthy lead-ins to the various episodes. His goofy boyishness makes the super raunchy stuff in the show easier to swallow. Ahem. 

Sure, Encolpius takes money for sex with men, women and boys. He also fights with his gladiator buddy Ascyltos (Dillon M. Ford), and sells the body of his cowering young slave Giton (Josh Lofty) for a meal, a hotel room or whatever. At a wine and food orgy, the literally pooped out host suggests poor Giton as "a possible dessert."  

Still, this adventurous Roman road warrior is always so willing to roll over or crawl on top of virtually anybody that asks him that I started liking his dumb-ass can-do spirit. He clearly prefers boys, but when challenged he declares he can still take on a woman, although it's been awhile. "It's like riding a horse," he explains. 

When Encolpius ends up onboard a ship with the long-winded poet Eumolpus (Dylan Peck), he hilariously hides from an old enemy on-board disguised as a slave. But he and Giton manage to survive when a shipwreck lands them in the lap of a beautiful rich woman named Chrysis (Emily Murphy) who determines she must have sex with Encolpius, come hell, high water or his repeated failure to get it on. 

In the play's funniest scene, Chrysis calls in the sorceress hag Oenothea (Megan Duelm) who instructs her patient to "sit on the bed and spread your legs" for a close-up examination of his parts. After administering everything from ointments to leather dildos and personally testing his equipment, the witch declares him ready to go. Our gung-ho gladiator manages to deliver the goods to the grateful lady who pays him off royally. 

Lots more happens in the show, and a number of clever lines perk the dialogue. I liked the gossipy dinner guest despairing that "nobody believes in Jove anymore." But most of the jokes are variations on a pretty narrow theme, and would probably pack more of a wallop if condensed into a shorter playtime. 

The youthful cast members, in their funny, garishly colored togas designed by Alejandro de la Costa, shoulder up to the task at hand. But there's just too much talk to get through, and always the same simulated action on the one big prop─the mattress at stage center. It is with some relief on the part of all that a worn-out Encolpius and his spent boy-toy finally escape the busy demands of this ultra-anal Roman society and walk away into the sunset. Thanks For Reading

Dates, Prices, & Other Details

View the Article Slideshow

Comment on this Article

Share this article on Social Media
Click or Swipe to close
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Decorum
The long, lowbrow Satyricon delivers raunchy laughs at MBS Productions.
by Martha Heimberg

Share this article on Facebook
Tweet this article
Share this article on Google+
Share this article via email
Click or Swipe to close
Click or Swipe to close
views on theater, dance, classical music, opera and comedy performances
news & notes
reports from the local performing arts scene
features & interviews
who and what are moving and shaking in the performing arts scene
season announcements
keep up with the arts groups' upcoming seasons
listen to interviews with people in the local performing arts scene
media reviews
reviews and stories on performing arts-related film, TV, recordings and books
arts organizations
learn more about the local producing and presenting arts groups
performance venues
learn more about the theaters and spaces where the arts happen
keep up with fabulous ticket giveaways and other promotions
connect to local arts crowdfunding campaigns
post or view auditions and performing arts-related classes, services, jobs and more
about us
info on TheaterJones, our staff, what we do and how to contact us
Click or Swipe to close
First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
ZIP Code:
Your Email Address:
Click or Swipe to close
Join TheaterJones Around the Web

Follow Us on Twitter

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Click or Swipe to close
Search the TheaterJones Archives
Use any or all of the options below to search through all of reviews, interviews, features and special sections. If you are looking for a an event, use the calendar section of this website. This search will not search through the calendar.
Article Title Search:

Description Search:
TheaterJones Contributor:

TheaterJones Section:

Showing on or after:      Showing on or before:  
Click or Swipe to close
We welcome your comments

I am discussing:  

Your Name:
Your Email Adress:

please enter the text below and then click or tap SUBMIT :