It is always amazing to see the new talent that 2nd City finds, year after year after year. Yes, The Second City is not what it used to be- it is not as much improvisation as it was in the “early years” with a great deal of the show somewhat “scripted”, but they are geniuses at using the audience and playing off them as they did in the “early years”. They are now doing their 101st Review! Imagine that 101 shows made up by young comedians who as it turns out, continue to rise to the top. Director Matt Hovde and his wild cast of players take us on a ride that deals with who we are, to ourselves and to those around us.
This is a new revue, with many new players that take us into many parts of our world, from the Atlantic ocean to the poetic world on Panama with a marvelous look at the world of the poets- one who finds one of the many children he has sired over a lifetime of being a believer in love, no matter the consequences. In this brisk two hours of madness, we ar etaken on many journeys. we go int history, and to the space world and these six hysterical performers keep us in stitches from start to finish, as always , wanting more.
Let’s talk about these performers, many new to the stage at Second City: Tawny Newsome, who has been in a few of these productions, earning her stripes at other local theaters , Steve Waltien ( in his second show on the mainstage), Edgar Blackmon, another veteran ,the adorable Holly Laurent who has been a second City member on the “tour”, The hysterical Ross Bryant, a newcomer to the troupe and the incredible Katie Rich who returns to the company from the highly successful “Who Do We Think We Are”.
Part of what makes Second City so great is the teamwork of the ensemble. They work together to build a two hour show as a unit. Each part ( person) must understand the other actors /performers so that the show runs smoothly. While they write the show together, every audience that comes to The Second City is different and unique and since they use the audience during the show, they must always be prepared to improvise the script to fit the audience that night. back in the old days, improvisation was more of the show that today. In today’s shows, they have a pattern as developed during their rehearsal period and an idea of where they are going. True, no matter where they think they are headed, the audience can change this, but for the most part, we are dealing with more script than in the early years.
What we know we will get as we walk the stairs to the second floor venue, is an evening of funny stuff. Even though we know that much of what we will see and hear is scripted, it is what our lives are all about and what we see in the world that these actors portray that makes us laugh. In the scene about the future, audience members are asked specific questions ( which I am sure change nightly) and the performers take it from there. In tonight’s performance, the dis was for Facebook and what it means to all of us. There is also a scene dealing with how “texting” has taken over our lives- in this case, even during her wedding ( and the wedding night) the bride never stopped texting. A little crazy? You bet, but when we look around , we see more and more reliance on the cell phone and it has, in some ways overtaken our lives. Think about it! When at a play, intermission used to be a time to talk to your partner or others, go to the bathroom or out for a smoke- now the phone MUST be turned back on and messages checked and of course two or three text messages must be sent. In this world of communications, most of us have forgotten how to communicate.
What The second City does in its revues is to bring awareness to the audience of the Chaos that has changed our way of living- in relationships, in loving, in living and even in co-existing. I applaud these performers for the work they do and the laughter they bring to us. Life is not as easy as it used to be. Stress is a major part of life and our existence. The fact is that for two hours, these performers make us forget the bills that might be overdue, the sales contract you expected earlier in the day or the promotion that “might” be coming your way, or not!- we laugh, we smile and we become just people , out for a good time. That is what The Second City set out to do over 50 years ago and they still do it! What more can we ask for?
They have added some great graphics and projections ( Mike Tutaj) on a Bob Knuth set design ( nothing special but very workable) and the music under the direction of the fantastic Julie B. Nichols is superb along with smooth lighting effects( Matt Gawryk) to make this show a total experience. Let’s face it, we do not go to a “cabaret” theater like The Second City for glitz and glamour- we go to have a great time, to laugh our troubles away and to dismiss our real lives for two plus hours. This is what they promised us- this is what they deliver!
As always, there is no closing date for a revue at The Second City- they keep running until they don’t. But the performance schedule is set” Tuesdays , Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m.
Sundays at 7 p.m.
Tickets are only $23-$28. An amazingly low cost for a time this much fun and can be purchased by calling 312-337-3992 or visiting www.SecondCity.com
If you are stressed out- use this website or phone number to guarantee that at least for two hours in your hum-drum life, you will forget your troubles and just be happy.
Of course, as any “cabaret” would be, booz is readily available and they have some scrumptious food to eat as well. The theater is located at 1616 N. Wells Street ( just north of North Avenue).
Parking is not easy in the area, but Treasure Island does offer some inexpensive parking options.
to see what others say, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to review round-up and click on “Let Them Eat Chaos”