BWW Review: BREAKNECK JULIUS CAESAR at 2017 KC Fringe Festival
Holding an audience on a stage by yourself for a whole hour is no small task, but it is one accomplished by Buffalo Grove Illinois' Tim Mooney in his remarkably cogent performance of "Breakneck Julius Caesar" at the Unicorn Theatre's Jerome Stage as his contribution to the 2017 Fringe. Tim Mooney is a repeat offender at Fringe and he is always excellent.
The uninitiated might expect an hour of standup comedy at Shakespeare's expense, but Mooney offers much more than a cheap gag or two. In just short or a timed hour, he performs a well-acted and meaningful version of a five-act play written in Elizabethan English. To be sure, Mooney does break the fourth wall and comment humorously as continuity, but he is doggedly faithful to most of the text.
Tim appears on stage wrapped in a Senator's Toga and sandals. To one side is a dressmaker's dummy to hold additional costuming. On the other is a projection screen, a laptop, and a projector. Hidden in the toga is a secret pocket, that is repeatedly accessed to advance Tim's helpful slides. The images are used for atmosphere (Roman statues), Maps (for historical context), and audience prompts (usually Huzzahs). Tim does tend to get the audience involved. They are invited to stab him with a rubber sword on at least two occasions.
You have to be impressed with the guy's ability to successfully project and differentiate between about 20 characters. It is especially impressive that he is able to differentiate between stage geography across all those characters. His preparation and rehearsal are obvious, seamless, and audience appreciated.
The final performance of "Breakneck Julius Ceasar" plays Friday at 11:p.m. It is an hour you won't regret having invested. It is thoroughly enjoyable.