Scenes by Jean Baptiste de Poquelin Moliere
Adapted, Translated, & Introduced by Timothy Mooney
Starring Timothy Mooney
AACT International 2010 Festival
Venice Theatre, 140 W. Tampa Ave., June 25 & 26, 2010

Reviewed by Marie J. Kilker


When travel problems prevented a Zimbabwe Group from performing at the American Association of Community Theatres International "Festival in Paradise" 2010, Timothy Mooney moved from promoting to presenting his one-man comedy Moliere Than Thou. It's an anthology of Mooney's translated scenes from Moliere's classic, still very funny and relevant comedies  introduced by Mooney. In typical 17th century curled wigs and costume he can change by adding a tie or shedding a jacket, Mooney gives the setting and "point" of each selected  play before assuming its principal role.  Moliere has never been more accessible.
With a white wig, Mooney becomes crusty old Arnolphe in School for Wives, who shielded his ward Agnes since the age of 4 from all men, so that he might eventually wed her without rivals. He speaks to Agnes as if in his audience of how contact with young men can lead to perdition. Talking of Satan, he gets (actually) carried away! Back on stage, duded up, he's the Bourgeoise Gentilhomme with his silly ways and pretentious language.  As he pulls out his shirt over plain trousers, shedding embellishments of clothing and hair, Mooney becomes the religious  hypocrite Tartuffe. As Moliere he explains his effort to make his villain "an independent charleton" -that is, not one of any specific religion,  then as Tartuffe launches into an attempted seduction of his patron's wife, Almira. Using an audience member to read her part, Mooney makes the most out of the coughs by which she's supposed to expose Tartuffe. He proves very skilled at evoking  audience  participation (later it's by a man listening to Scapin) without making his participants act silly. When he romps through the audience as Scapin or solicits for a "theatrical curtain fund," he's quite acrobatic and appealing.
As Sgnarelle  in Don Juan, as the title character in the still pertinent medical send-up The Doctor In Spite of Himself,  and as an uninspired nobleman pretending to be clever  before a group of  ladies,  Mooney varies his poetic, satirical, and vocal tones. He's truly what the French call an homme orchestre and, as Moliere and his characters, the "music" he produces most is laughter.
Moliere Than Thou lasts 1 hr., 15 minutes sans intermission. It is part of the Timothy Mooney Repertory Theatre ( that includes three one man shows Mooney plays at schools, theatres, conferences, festivals, and conventions throughout the country.

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