With far more hits than misses, "Studs Terkel's Not Working" takes us up and down Chicago. Whether we're on a tour bus discussing the sights, watching an irate driver do a hilarious tango with a meter maid, or under the L yelling about how we're going to fight back against the Chicago political machine, there are enough Chicago laughs here for both locals and tourists to enjoy.
The stand-out cast of The Second City e.t.c's 33rd revue includes Christina Anthony, Amanda Blake Davis, Tom Flanagan, Beth Melewski, Timothy Edward Mason and Andy St. Clair, all playing numerous characters and all reminding us why The Second City is such a revered comedic institution.
Nowhere are the able comedic minds of the entire cast more readily apparent than in the final skit of the first act, when Mason directs a reluctant audience member as the lead character in a noir-ish detective escapade that takes place throughout the theater. Each cast member pops up in the story somehow, and by the end of the scene the entire audience has laughed hard enough to cross their weekly ab workouts off the exercise checklist.
There are musical numbers and infomercials, stand-alone bits and recurring jokes, plus a memorable explanation of why the economy is so bad. For the first time in a few years, political humor takes a backseat to good, old-fashioned sketch comedy, and the performers are given free rein to create characters on their own rather than attempting to imitate well-known politicos. It's a welcome shift and the cast takes full advantage of this. This is the perfect show to take an out-of-town visitor to if you want to show off your city's sense of humor.