Highly Recommended ****To many theater audiences, Second City, a Chicago “institution” is by far THE comedy training center of the world. There is none better. Even more amazing is that they continue to churn out talent that will one day move to another part of the country and bring laughter to wherever it is they land- on the stage, large screen or small! How lucky are we to get this talent first!
The newest production at Second City’s ETC, on the second floor at Piper’s Alley in Old Town is called “Apes of Wrath” and as we all know, the title has very little to do with the show itself, except to give us a taste of a theme, which in this case is how over the years, despite our new levels of technology, our behavior can become more simian than human. This two hours of solid comical creativity kind of touches on our “evolution” as “devolution” as we go back to our “roots” and truly enjoy that banana again!
As always, the Revue is written by the performers: Carisa Barreca, Brooke Breit, Eddie Mujica, Punam Patel, Asher Perlman and Tim Ryder, who truly blend together as a team in this show. They are from various backgrounds and yet, with the exception of one scene which deals with taking the Citizen test ( hysterically handled by Eddie Mujica) there is very little to do with ethnicity. In fact, as usual , the show covers many bases and only in a few rare instances gets the audience involved for either the “improv” or to take the stage. While I find that to be funny, I had no problem with the cleverness of this script and the six talented performers who under the direction of Jen Ellison, kept us laughing from start to end, and even as we were leaving the theater, just thinking about some of the bits brought a smile to my face.
The music and sound by Alex Kliner makes the Revue even more like a musical show and Kyle Anderson’s lighting effects were very clever adding to the overall experience for the audience. These shows are truly funny when the performers are at the top of their game and this one appears to have all the ingredients to keep them at that level. Whether it be performance artists doing their show at a prison, a robot “lover” ( Mujica shines at this as well with the adorable Brooke Breit, who also hits the spot with a skit about a company downsizing) or a ship going down where the captain must save the last passenger , this show moves quickly and keeps bringing back items from previous skits and bits to keep the show together. These are highly energetic performers who are on for the entire two hours and never lose it!
Second City and all of its companies were built with the concept that people need a diversion! People need to back off from the stress of their lives, if only for two hours and laugh at what takes place in and around our world. For as long as I can remember, this is what they have brought to their stages, and this show meets the requirements to perfection! Forget those troubles you left at the office or at home and for two hours, just have a great time and get into a better mood. Just what the doctor ordered and served up, again at Second City ETC!
“Apes of Wrath” will continue at ETC , located at 230 West North Avenue on what is called an open run with performances as follows:
Tuesdays ( ONLY in August, from the 6th-13th) at 8 p.m.
Wednesdays ( from July 9th-August 13th) at 8 p.m.
Thursdays 8 p.m.
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and then again at 11 p.m.
Sundays at 7 p.m.
Tickets start at $23 and can be purchased at the box office, by phone at 312-337-3992 or online at www.SecondCity.com
FYI- The menu has been expanded so that there are some great salads, finger foods and sandwiches. Parking is available in the garage next door, but Treasure Island’s lot may be a better value, or if you are lucky, you could find a spot on the street ( metered , of course).
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “Apes of Wrath”