Highly Recommended **** The numbers keep adding up. Second City E.T.C. is already on Revue number 40. Yes, this small little improve theater that blossomed in Old Town, now has stages all over the country, but in its home at Wells and North Avenue is where the “king” holds court. Second City is in fact the “King” of improv, both on its stages and in its classrooms. They come from everywhere to learn and hone their craft, and lucky Chicago audiences get to meet and greet and laugh at and with these amazing talents.
Their 40th Revue is entitled “A Red Line RunsTthrough It”, which of course relates to the North South Red-Line train that goes from Howard Street (to the North) and (5th Street (to the south). This show rides the rails, so to speak, of our city in order to answer some of the deep questions of today. Some of the questions posed relate to our past and how it might affect our future (or the future of those we rear). Is it anger that steers us in our everyday lives? How important are our friends and family. Our lives are just like the train- it goes from point A to point B and back again. Our lives, each day are probably very close to the day before and probably the next day to come, so other than the tracks running below us and perhaps having to yield our seat to an older person, isn’t our daily routine just like the Redline that goes down at Armitage and comes back up after Roosevelt Road?
Directed by Jeff Award director Matt Hovde, which as always is written by the performers, Lisa Beasley, Aasia Lashay Bullock, Peter Kim, Katie Klein, Julie Marchiano and Scott Morehead, who truly bring high energy to this romp through New Mother Blues, Black Girl Magic, Local News as done in different localities, coming out, driving and a very special salute (if one can call what they offer a “salute”) to Mayor Rahm Emmanuel-it is adorable and scary! With music by Justin Case, we are treated to almost two hours (there is a 15 minute intermission) of rip -roaring laughter.
This show does not have as much audience involvement as previous, but they do find a way to get us involved in a few of the sketches. This is not pure improve as it was back in the day, but they add some for spice and to change it up a bit. The Mayor salute is worth the price of admission alone, but you will scream with laughter during the “Black Magic segment” and the New Mother Blues, besides being “blue” is hysterical (Lisa Beasley is adorable). Peter Kim does a great bit about stepping out in heels and having to teach his buddy, deftly handled by Scott Morehead, who also does an extreme panelist on a quiz show who seems to know every answer. Julie Marchand and Katie Klein do a fabulous improve bit about auto mishaps and the glorious Aasia Lasha Bullock does her own Black Magic along with partner Beasley- this is a top-notch cast of comics, who I am certain will become names to reckon with in the years to come.
” A Red Line Runs Through It” will continue at Second City E.T.C. located in Pipers Alley, second floor, 230 West North Avenue (at Wells) on an open schedule with performances as follows:
Thursday 8 p.m.
Friday 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.
Saturday 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.
Sunday 7 p.m.
Tickets start at $23 and can be ordered at 312-664-4032 or online at www.SecondCity.com
Parking is a bit rough, but I have saved money by using the Treasure Island lot just down the street.
If you are not aware of the set up, like all the Second City venues, this is more of a club than a theater with tables so you can order drinks (great selection) and they do have plenty of variety in food. The pretzel bites are tasty, the cheeseburger sliders “delish” , the grilled cheese with bacon is a delight and the BBQ sweet potato fries will open your eyes in full! There is more plus three dessert choices (just do the decadent chocolate cake a sit goes with the evening).
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “A Red Line Runs Through It”, then get on track for an evening filled with laughter.