Thursday February 22nd 2018

“Flanagan’s Wake” reviewed by Carol Moore

Flanagan'sWake-tinyRecommended *** If you’re looking for an evening of interactive improv with a theme, then “Flanagan’s Wake” is the show for you!   It’s a relaxed atmosphere at, with plenty of adult beverages available.   As is expected at an Irish wake, you’ll be saluting the deceased Flanagan with a libation.  It’s not the best show I’ve ever seen, but I had fun.  2 ½ Spotlights

“Flanagan’s Wake” takes place in the fictional town of Grapplin in County Sligo.  The locals have gathered to wake Flanagan, one of their own.  His fiancée of 29 years, Fiona Finn, his Mother Flanagan, his best friend, Brian Ballybunion, his business partner and Sligo’s best known writer, Mickey Finn, his parish priest, Father Damon Fitzgerald, Mayor/Bartender Martin O’Doule, and Kathleen Mooney.

This is not a scripted performance.  The cast plays off certain set guidelines, reacting to the input from the audience.  Some performances are going to be quite funny, others not so much, depending upon the audience.  On opening night, some of the audience cues were truly funny, others were downright stupid and/or vulgar. Flanagan'sWake

If you’re truly interested in what’s going on – and many people weren’t – you’ll have to listen carefully.  Chicago Theatre Works looks like it was a furniture store in a previous lifetime, so the acoustics are terrible.  Most of the actors are aware of this and try to speak loudly and clearly enough to be easily understood.  The actress playing Kathleen Mooney affects a high, kind of whiny voice, and I didn’t understand a word she said.

By the way, I didn’t mention names for any of the cast members because I couldn’t get them from anyone.  They’re not to be found online or in print!

Some of the funniest highlights:

  • Mickey Finn’s one-line epic poem
  • The boys who hired a narcolepsic taxi driver – they’re cheap (and Scottish)
  • The story of Flanagan’s demise – he won a trip to Branson, overslept on the morning of his flight, ran after the plane, grabbed a hanging strap, pulled it, and was crushed by the falling luggage
  • Father Fitzgerald’s Gospel story from the Book of Kevin
  • The weasels never got on the Ark, they went off by themselves and became the Brits!
  • The Mayor said that Flanagan could vote more than anyone, he was a district unto himself
  • Fiona’s song about winning American Idol
  • A improv song using things like birthday party, that strange thing at the Oscars, and more – all to the tune of Uptown FunkyFlanagan'sWake-Mayor

“Flanagan’s Wake” is sharing the bill with “Tony and Tina’s Wedding so if you’ll see some white lights and garlands twined around the posts.  Frank Sinatra’s picture is still on the wall too.


“Flanagan’s Wake” is in an open run, with dates currently available through April 29th, at Chicago Theatre Works, 1113 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago.

These types of shows often have cast changes on a regular basis: here is the current list:

Just in (3/9/17) cast list:
·         Luciana Bonifazi – Fiona Finn
·         Derek Brummet – Mother Flanagan
·         Alex DiVirgilio – Mickey
·         Greg Dodds – Mayor
·         Stephen Peebles – Father
·         Chase Wheaton-Werle – Brian
·         Susan Wingerter – Kathleen

Running time is about 1 hour, 45 minutes, with an intermission.

The performance schedule varies.  Upcoming: Wednesdays, March 15th & 29th at 12:00 pm; Thursdays, March 9th & 16th at 8:00 pm; Fridays, March 17th & 31st, April 7th, 21st & 26th at 8:00 pm; Saturday performances are March 11th, 18th, 25th, April 1st, 15th and 29th at 9:00 pm; and Sundays, March 12th 8 April 9th at 5:00 pm, March 26th & April 23rd at 7:00 pm.

Flanagan'sWake-castTickets range from $29-$34.  Limited paid parking is available at 3342 N. Seminary.  Purchase parking at

FYI (312) 391-0404 or

To see what others are saying, visit, go to Review Round-Up and click at “Flanagan’s Wake”.






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