After its old warehouse space on Clark Street in Wrigleyville was demolished in 2000, the Annoyance Theatre Company found itself homeless. It was hard times for these improv-ers, best-known for their wild, grossly hilarious and downright vulgar productions "Co-ed Prison Sluts" (about a group of raucous, perverse jailbirds), and the "Live Brady Bunch" (which enacted actual episodes of the popular TV series). Thankfully, the group found a new, more intimate home in Uptown in the summer of 2006, allowing artistic director Mick Napier and the director of production and development, Jennifer Estlin, to get back to their old tricks.
Napier, a Chicago comedy celeb himself, also runs a nationally-known training program for aspiring improvisation actors. The program has five different levels, from beginner to advanced, and those who make it to the fifth level put on their very own show at the theatre. Napier also offers summer intensives, like a one-week class series through which students learn to improv their hearts out every morning and afternoon.
Tickets for improv and musical improve shows never cost more than $15. A full bar in the front ensures that the laughter will flow even if the jokes aren't always on-target; theatre-goers are encouraged to buy drinks and bring them to tables in the theatre itself. Saturday nights feature partially nude burlesque performances, and Sunday evenings are often filled with one-person improv acts.
Centerstage Reviewer: Alicia Eler