By Owen McCafferty
Directed by Jeff Christian
Produced by Seanachai Theatre Company
At the Artistic Home’s Studio Theatre
Funny two-hander unfolds during the bloody Troubles in Belfast
Seanachai (Gaelic for storyteller) Theatre continues mounting terrific shows and director Jeff Christian has found two talented actors capable of playing ten year old boys, displaying a fine range of Northern Irish brogues, and capable of moving deftly from one character to another with acumen for physical comedy to boot. Robert Kauzlaric (Mojo) and Dan Waller (Mickybo) gave amazingly electric performances playing the mischievous Irish boys locked into the adventures of imagination. They take us into kid’s world.
These two actors play 17 characters in McCafferty’s rollicking and poignant adventure during the 1970 Belfast Troubles. Both Kauzlaric and Waller donned authentic thick Irish brogues even when they switched from kids to women or adult males. These linguistic transitions added much truthfulness to this funny yet moving show. As the stories slickly move from the kids playing imaginative games, including becoming heroes Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, to the guys playing their parents and other weird adults we are enchanted with the kid’s view of the adult world.
This is Irish storytelling rich in little details and zany personae distinctly told from the memories of kids struggling to make sense of their world during the bombings and killing in Belfast. There are loads of humor in the wacky characters and the child-like views of these two kids from both the Catholic and Orange neighborhoods in Belfast. We meet the dysfunctional relatives of Mojo and Mickybo. Robert Kuzlaric and Dan Waller are terrific as the kids caught in a bittersweet tale of innocence lost. The sheer energy and the manic pace of this 70 minutes show wins us with its charm and the honesty of the performances. Playwright Owen McCafferty calls Mojo Mickybo a tale steeped in “the absurdity of sectarianism.” I call it a tale filled with loads of laughs.
At the Artistic Home Theatre, 3914 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL, call 773-878-3727, www.seanachai.org, tickets $25, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, running time is 70 minutes without intermission.