Everyone needs a break. A break from the stress of work! A break from family stress! A break from the stress brought on by the holiday season! Tis the season to be jolly!- Bah, humbug!. Every year Second City, Chicago’s marvelous “cabaret Comedy Club” brings us many laughs with their Holiday Show, a seasonal blend of songs, hilarious scenes and of course, their trademark- improv!. I love taking the walk down Wells Street to this famed house of hilarity and always find myself laughing. Even though this year’s production has a few repeats and not as much holiday material or for that matter dysfunctional material, what Second City performers do is take us away from what our lives are and put us in another place. We can, for the almost two hours, just laugh and have a grand time. This is what we need and at this time of the year, no matter what your profession- Lawyer, Accountant, Doctor, Nurse, Sales ( in particular those in the retail business) and almost anything you can name, you need a break from deadlines, making sales, closing cases, closing sales, getting prepared for the tax season and on and on- two hours to forget who you are and what is asked of you where you can just escape and laugh your A_ _ off! This must be the place!
Some of the bits they do this year are repeats from last year ( the mystery of the stolen ?) where an audience member is chosen to be a private detective and to seek the missing item. Because a new player is selected at each show and the audience selects the item missing, the actors/comics are forced to change the scene and while very close to last year, this one had its own special laughs. While the show is not purely “holiday” and certainly not all “dysfunctional”, there are some very funny moments and this bright cast of five young performers ( who are evidently new to Chicago) can be proud of what they have accomplished.
Director Sandy Marshall uses the small stage at Second City ETC on the second floor of Piper’s Alley located at ells and North in Chicago, to full advantage so there are no bad seats. His cast of five not only handle comedy well, but appear to be having as good a time as the audience ( without the liquor, unless they are hitting it backstage) and for comedy to work to its full advantage, the performers must be able to find the material funny as well. Barry Hite does a great Santa bit and can sing and dance well; Michael Kosinsky is a tall and “rubbery” actor who is able to do funny things with his body as well as with his mind; Rachel Miller does great ad-libs and Eileen Montelione will absolutely astound you with her characters. Holly Laurent, she of long legs anda great singing voice doesn’t look like a comic, but when you watch her you see her mind clicking away. In particular, when they do their ad-lib/improv bits, they shine ( even though the material ends up being other than holiday for the most part). Ms Laurent did a great bit with an audience member who truly surprised her ( and us with her little pats) and while many thought Laurent might break up from this, she handled the bit with greatness ( again, this was not a holiday skit).
I always enjoy good comedy and as anyone will tell you, I love to laugh ( they say “it is good for what ails you” and thanks to my laughter, I never ail) and despite the show not being what it claims to be- that is dysfunctional or holiday, I say ” who cares?” It is a laugh riot that will make you forget about that stupid gift for Uncle Fred that hasn’t been made for twelve years! It will make you forget about that bonus you thought you were getting! It will make you forget about the little mishap the other night! In fact, this show will allow you two hours to relax and just be the kid you are inside and laugh, laugh, laugh.
The show runs through December 27th with performances as follows:
Wednesdays, 12/1 and 12/8 at 7>30 p.m.,Saturdays, 12/4 , 12/11 and 18th at 4 p.m.,Sundays 12/5,12/1212/19 and 12/26 at 4 p.m.,Mondays 12/6 ,12/13, 12/20 and 12/27 at 8 p.m.: There is also an afternoon show 2 p.m. on Wednesday 12/8
Tickets range from $16-$22 ( a great value for this much fun) and can be purchased by calling the box office at 312-337-3992 or visit www.secondcity.com