The Troubadours are back – so beware the ides of March as they point their fingers at Julius Caesar in this hysterical mash-up of Shakespeare coupled with the funk-rock of the resurgent and ubiquitous band, Weezer. Shakespeare may well be turning over in his grave as the Troubadour Theatre Company poke their special brand of fun at one of Will’s hallmark Romans. But Julius isn’t alone in this wildly hilarious comic concert. Cassius, Brutus, Mark Antony, and even the voluptuous Cleopatra are ready to join in the party.
It’s 44 B.C. in Rome – in March to be exact – and Julius (Andy Robinson) has just returned from the wars to be offered the kingship – which, as we already know, he refused. But there are those who suspect that he has high ambitions and might change his mind with just a hint of encouragement. With a little push from Cassius (Matt Walker), Caesar’s close friend Brutus (Rob Nagle) is one of those who think that their republic is skating on thin ice. There is only one way to insure that Julius won’t bow to the tempting offer of the guaranteed lifetime job of dictator – and we all know what that is.
As always, the Troubadour Theater Company wreaks havoc with Shakespeare as they blend current day with early Roman day to yield a satire to beat all satires – with a generous dollop of circus, comedy improv, mime, and anything else that was ever conceived of on or off stage. Did I mention that Luscious – oops, Lucius (Rick Batalla) slips in and out to deliver some ridiculous sight and sound bites? While you’re at it, keep an eye on the floor of the stage, where a jack-in-the-box commentator tries to ground some of the action – while a ghostly Caesar floats through the goings-on. The fog machine gets to work overtime as two armies clash – while no one is sure who is getting the shaft.
Led by Ryan Whyman (keyboards), the band keeps the place hopping, while Derick Finely drums, Mikala Schmitz cellos, Mike Abraham strums, and Blake Estrada basses. The production staff also deserves kudos for a job well done. In the midst of chaos, there does appear to be some structure (but maybe that’s an illusion). And let’s not forget fight choreographer Ken Merckx, who may well keep the actors from killing each other. The sidesplitting action happens everywhere, so keep your eyes peeled. And, by all means, get ready to laugh, guffaw, chuckle, and wheeze throughout this uproarious tale. AUDIENCE ALERT: Listen very carefully, since the laughter may drown out some of the best lines.
JULIUS WEEZER runs through May 19, 2019, with performances at 8 p.m. on Fridays, at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and at 4 p.m. on Sundays. El Portal Theatre is located at 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA. Tickets range from $50 to $65. For information and reservations, call 818-508-4200 or 866-822-4111 or go online.