“We will now do a dramatic scene for you. We need the name of a dramatic movie never seen before.” “The Killer Grapes!” “I’m afraid of the grapes.” “Why?” “They have seeds!” “What? I thought all grapes at Whole Food were seedless!” “We need a scientist!” “How about a mathematician?” “Let’s get some graph paper!” “Have you ever had sex on graph paper?” Blackout. “Sorry, our algorithm failed to create a dramatic scene. Enjoy this intermission while we fix this issue!” This was one of the wild completely improvised scenes that shows the talent of the ensemble.
This truly is a great cast. Kimberly Michelle Vaughn has a great energy on stage, especially during the dancing scene where she plays a wife just left at the altar. Nate Varrone is absolutely hilarious as a guy wearing Bluetooth, while having sex. He says himself that he looks like the child of Billy Mays and Borat! Emma Pope is a solid actor always willing to be the straight man in a scene. Ryan Asher is consistently funny especially while improvising scenes about puppies. Tyler Davis is a solid guitar player with good comic chops. Lastly, Jeffrey Murdoch is hilarious as the man tied up and held hostage stripped down to his underwear.
All in all, it was a good show, but not one of Second City’s best. Dream Freaks Fall From Space was definitely better. However, the cast is still strong, especially in the improvised scenes. They have started performing two shows on some Sunday nights, so unfortunately there wasn’t an improv set at the end of this performance.
Get tickets now for Algorithm Nation or The Status Quo!
Cost of a ticket: $36
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It-
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother
“I heard you need a DJ! I usually do ping pong parties, but now I’m ready for Bar Mitzvah’s and weddings.” Cut to two people playing ping pong. “You know what this activity needs, a DJ!” “I know! But my DJ quit to do weddings! They should make a law against that!” A man jumps into the scene. “I’m a congressman and I’ll get to work on that law right away. We have nothing better to do!” Blackout! This complete scene was made up on the spot in a true showcase of the improv talent on display on the ETC stage.
The majority of the show is written sketches, as opposed to improv. In order to not give away many of the jokes, suffice it to say that many of the sketches feature a scene hole. When a character jumps through the scene hole, they can only speak the absolute truth. This leads to a scene with Andrew Knox doing an excellent impression of Donald Trump. He tries to jump through the whole and WHACK, he can’t go through!
Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or entity makes a victim question their reality in order to gain power over them. This is where the title comes from and is a running theme in the show. It involves a lot of lying and is what a certain political leader is doing. That being said, there are a good number of political jokes, but in no way does it dominate the show. It’s a good balance with non-political material. Thus, this show continues the tradition of Second City making the funniest theatre in all of Chicago, and probably the nation!
Cost of a ticket: $35
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Exceptional Value!
New Rating Scale:
Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother
Get tickets now for Gaslight District at Second City!
The red curtain parts and the song “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” by Dead Or Alive starts to play. Six characters dressed in tuxedos with colorful eye makeup launch into a choreographed dance in front of a golden backdrop. It’s all on a circular stage that is slowly spinning, which matches the song perfectly. It’s quite a sight and the audience really gets into it by clapping, hooting, and hollering. When the song ends, they strike a pose for the applause. However, since the stage is spinning, they have to keep walking to stay at the front of the stage. It’s quite hilarious to watch them fight amongst each other to be in front.
Throughout the show, various objects are thrown on stage. Kale, an air horn, and a blowup suit are just a few of the things they find. For each item, they act like they have never seen one before and they try to figure out what it is and how to use it. Watching one of them stuff all of the kale in her mouth, and then in turn spitting it all out is one the funniest parts of the show.
An assorted few are convinced they are stuck on a spinning revolve, in There Will Be A Climax at the Old Fitz Theatre in Sydney, from 9 January to 3 February 2018. CAST: Toby Blome Oliver Crump Duncan Ragg Geneva Schofield Alex Stylianou Contessa Treffone CREATIVE TEAM: Created by: Alexander Berlage & The Company Directed by: Alexander Berlage Produced by: Red Line Productions in partnership with the National Institute of Dramatic Art Set & Costume Design: Nicholas Fry Dramaturg: Alexander Lee-Rekers Lighting Design: Alexander Berlage Sound Design: Katelyn Shaw Choreographer: Toby Derrick There Will Be A Climax was originally presented at The National Institute of Dramatic Art, as part of the 2016 Director’s and Designers Graduating Productions. Photo by Robert Catto, on Monday 8 January, 2018. Please credit & tag the photographer when images are used – @robertcatto on Instagram & Twitter, @robertcattophotographer on Facebook.
It’s a very artistic piece which at times is quite bizarre. Without any dialog, the audience has to pay close attention to figure out what is happening. It’s a production that would work very well in a modern art museum theatre. It does work at The Old Fitz Theatre, which is very small space that fits about 80 people in a room below a bar. However, perhaps because of the location, it seemed like at least half of the audience didn’t understand what was happening. Pay close attention and notice the climax, then the falling action, and resolution. It will pay off with the unexpected and quite interesting ending.
Get tickets now for there will be a climax through February 3rd!
It was a wildly fun night at Happy Endings last night. The MC of the night, Daniel Townes, was hilarious. “90% of communication is non-verbal, and I reckon neck tattoos prove that.” He had funny comments all night long about the previous comedians and great audience banter. You can find out more about him at http://www.danieltownes.com/.
“This is what is sounds like when someone says something racist.” Says Rowan Thumbar. He then goes on to play the stereotypical Chinese melody on a keyboard. “And this is what that same comment sounds like to someone who is racist.” He then plays a beautiful song and everyone cracks up. It’s a great original bit and he plays many more funny ones to the audience’s delight.
John Cruckshank was also on point tonight. As an electrician, he gives off a cool casual blue collar vibe. “I have a usual after work routine. I go and get a pie and a milk. Then I sit down and say, ‘Fuck this shit!’” He goes on to say that he doesn’t need to turn on the comedy for his standup, his whole life is comedy. And we believe him!
Get tickets now for Happy Endings Comedy Club!
What if the story of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer isn’t all that it seems? What if we only know the toned down kids version. The Eight explores the very adult side of the story. It turns out that Dasher is a big fan of the drink. Cupid is the only gay reindeer. Well, the only openly gay reindeer. Prancer is a movie star who now goes by the name Hollywood. The shocking revelations go on including some very strong allegations against Santa that are all too relevant this year.
The acting in this production is fantastically funny. A rotating cast is used for the eight roles. Each role is played by two to three different actors, who each give their character a uniquely hilarious interpretation. This has allowed the show to stay fresh in its 14th straight year. By just adding a few modern references, it feels like the entire show was written this year! Also, the theater is small and intimate, which plays well with the monologue format.
Skip The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol this year and get tickets now for The Eight: Reindeer Monologues through December 23rd!
This is a very musical cast. Jeffrey Murdoch plays the trumpet. Tyler Davis plays bass and guitar. Tien Tran (who was also in Fantastic Super Great Nation Numero Uno) plays violin. Nate Varrone (the one who looks like Borat) plays drums. Kelsey Kinney (who was also in The Winner… of Our Discontent) rocks a tambourine. Ryan Asher sings. Together, they integrate these skills very smoothly into the show and it pays off in spades. Here are the Top 5 Moments from the show:
- “Total Eclipse of the Heart” starts to play. A woman begins to singing it to a man of the left when a clown with a large knife approaches from behind her. In synch with the song, he continually begs her to “Turn Around”. Is this song actually about a killer clown?
10/24/17 8:24:33 PM — The Second City 106th Review “Dream Freaks Fall From Space.” Featuring Tien Tran Nate Varrone Jeffrey Murdoch Ryan Asher Kelsey Kinney © Todd Rosenberg Photography
- Everyone asks “Where’s Waldo?” But nobody asks, “How’s Waldo?”
- “Saturday in the Park” by Chicago starts to play. A man begins to tell a story, in synch with the music. “I think it was the 4th of July.” The music stops and his friend interjects “It was the 5th of July!”
10/24/17 8:38:42 PM — The Second City 106th Review “Dream Freaks Fall From Space.” Featuring Tien Tran Nate Varrone Jeffrey Murdoch Ryan Asher Kelsey Kinney © Todd Rosenberg Photography
- An audience member when prompted, “what is a small change in your life?”, says her kids leaving for college. Well, to most people that is a huge change!
10/24/17 9:30:58 PM — The Second City 106th Review “Dream Freaks Fall From Space.” Featuring Tien Tran Nate Varrone Jeffrey Murdoch Ryan Asher Kelsey Kinney © Todd Rosenberg Photography
- All the cast members dancing with Trump masks. Comedic gold!
Get tickets now for Dream Freaks Fall From Space at Second City!
It was a great night of laughs on Monday at Broadway Comedy Club, which is in a basement on 53rd St, just off Broadway. There was a 13 year old in the audience, but it’s really a show for adults. Here are three of the best comedians that night, and a few of their best jokes.
Rodney Laney (Comedy Central, MTV, BBC, HBO, CBS Late Show)
So you were guided into a dark basement without windows in the middle of NYC. You should feel lucky that you are alive!
My name is Rodney. They named me that because when I was born, my rod extended to my knee! Also, you should meet my brother, Rod-Ankle.
Mike Somerville (Letterman)
I travel often as a comic. I was just in Oklahoma where I ordered three beers. “$3 dollars says the bartender.” “I said three.” “I know.” “Wow, I feel rich!”
“I love you.” “I love you more.” “Ah, I guess you’re right”
Joe Devito (NBC’s Last Comic Standing, CBS Late Show, FOX Red Eye)
“Dating is hard at my age. Dinner, sex, and a movie. Pick 2!”