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Theater Shows
Brother, Can You Spare Some Change?

Now that the election ho-ha is over, it's back to funny business as usual.

centerstage reviewed this performanceReviewed by Centerstage!Go Chicago!

Venue:
Second City ETC
1608 N. Wells St.
Chicago, IL 60614 Map This Place!Map it
Cost:
$20-$25
Tickets:
Call 312-337-3992 or buy online at www.secondcity.com

Company
Second City

Styles

Related Info:
Official website

Performances
Opens December 7, 2008

Friday8 p.m. & 11 p.m.
Saturday8 p.m. & 11 p.m.
Sunday7 p.m.
Thursday8 p.m.

reviewed performanceCenterstage Show Review
Reviewer: John Biederman
Thursday Dec 18, 2008

Given its status, reviewers secretly want to pan a Second City show. But SC consistently does comedy right.

The opener for The Second City e.t.c. 32nd Revue, “Brother, Can You Spare Some Change?” is a song-and-dance about how Obama’s election will “solve everything.” Yes, it seems EVERY comedian is joking this angle, but the cast of writer/performers (Christina Anthony, Amanda Blake Davis, Tom Flanigan, Laura Grey, Mason and Andy St. Clair, directed by Bruce Pirrie) and production are so top-notch that it blows away most competition.

As with all sketch/improv productions, sometimes a sketch fizzles on payoff. That said, punch-lines are the toughest aspect of sketch, and a mild payoff is better than a forced one. One “Brother” bit, about former schoolmates meeting in a checkout line, goes nowhere, but Timothy Edward Mason’s character is so wonderfully psychotic, thinking aloud his bizarre OCD habits, that it kills.

There are flat-out misses, however. Grey’s bit channeling Amelia Earhart leaves viewers scratching heads. But that, too, can work—a bit involving the magician, “The Great Vagenie,” has such rapid-fire, prop slapstick that laughter interferes with catching each mini-gag. SC is often “news smart,” too—a sketch featuring a family seeking a “personal bailout” from their congressman even does the math: If we took the money we’re giving to banks and gave it to citizens, each U.S. household could stimulate the economy with $70,000-plus.

Once the show finishes up, you won’t see the end-of-night improv that the mainstage is known for. But St. Clair improvs an inept public defender off an audience member “client,” Anthony has fun with a spectator in a Supremes-esque dating tune; and a crass sing-a-long ensues. The show is hit-or-miss, but if you want to catch some of the most original, immaculately produced comedy in the world, see “Brother."

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