One thing is for sure! When one attends a Revue at Second City, one will leave the theater in a much better mood then when they arrived. Even if you have had a good day, which is often not the case, sitting and watching these brilliant performers will make you see that each day is indeed a gift and that laughter is by far the greatest medicine we can take/have to cure our ills.
While our famous club (also school and touring companies) is called “The Second City”, those of us who have been attending revues for many years know that when it comes to comedy and improv, Chicago is by far the “FIRST CITY” and that the name of the company is just that, the name. Currently, they are running their 103rd revue entitled, “Panic on Cloud 9” on their Mainstage at 1616 N. Wells. Yes, this is where it truly became a landmark in “Old Town”. While they have several venues on the corner, this is the one that is most memorable due to the famous names who got their start here and rose to fame.
Speaking of that, some of the players in this particular “Revue” are ones to keep an eye on. I would think with all the new comedy shows heading for TV, that some of these talents will make their way to the HD Scene and become regulars in your living room. The Second City has changed over the years and while there is still some improv involved, for the most part, the actors write a script that they work from and as they see (and hear) the audience reaction , add and subtract from it. They also always include some stuff using the audience members. In fact, audience members look forward to the possibility that they will be a part of the show. Why not? It makes the experience even more memorable.
“Panic” begins on a Greyhound Bus as each of the riders talks about why they are on the bus and heading to their destination. There are many scenes, one after another dealing with love and marriage, the Russian “Wives Club”, The barber shop ( a very funny sketch where Daniel Strauss takes to an audience member and creates a storyline. Very funny on opening night. In fact, the six member cast, writers of the evenings comedy, are all bright and unique in what they bring to the stage. Whether it be the Secret Service, Batman and Robin in a very unusual situation, The ladies talking about ads for products (the discussion about “tampons” is hysterical), and even a “bully” bit where John Hartman ( a Don Knotts type of personality) truly shines. By the way, his Batman is very special.
The slumber party that ends the first act is also a very unique bit of comedy as we have all type sof little girls talking about their dreams, their wishes and their sexual likes and dislikes. After all, this is 2014! In this highly bright evening of comedy they talk about “trouble Below”, LMZ, “Only You” and a cowpoke scene at a campfire that is funny, but perhaps a little too long. Hartman shines in this one as well and plays well off Paul Jurewicz. The three ladies in this show are all terrific too. Christine Tawfik, Emily Walker and the adorable Chelsea Devantez who makes for a different “Robin” in the Batman scene.
Directed by Ryan Bernier, making his Mainstage debut and hitting all the right notes with music handled by Jacob Shuda (who also composed the original music) this is a true comic experience and keeps the Second City feeling alive an dwell. They are still coming up with new ideas and young talent that makes it all worth the trip to “Old Town”. The performance schedule for “Panic on Cloud 9” is as follows:
Tuesdays-Thursdays at 8 p.m.
Fridays and Saturdays 8 p.m and 11 p.m.
Sundays at 7 p.m.
These are open runs and as long as the audiences keep coming, this show will run. Will it always be the same? NO! These are performers who “think funny” so along the way, they will try new stuff and if it works, it stays.
Tickets start at $23 and can be ordered by calling 312-337-3992 or online at www.SecondCity.com
The menu of food they offer is reasonably priced and quite tasty and the bar serves up anything your heart may desire. For a great evening of spirits, finger food and side-splitting laughs, mark this as a “must see” for the holidays (and beyond).
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “panic On Cloud 9”