Oracle Theatre's Radio Goggles series takes an unusual approach to staging old-timey radio dramas: actors lip-synch their lines to the original audio. For this third installment, Ben Fuchsen, Kristin Davis, and K. Hannah Friedman direct 1940s episodes of The Adventures of Philip Marlowe and The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, as well as a bizarre Christmas presentation in which Emperor Nero (voiced by Orson Welles) is dispatched from hell to assassinate Santa Claus—and in rhyming couplets, no less. The directors' frequent use of shadow puppetry is often effective, especially in the noirish Marlowe piece. But the lip-synching conceit yields eerie, robotic performances that reminded me of the creepy animatronic stars of Disney World's Hall of Presidents attraction. —Zac Thompsonhttp://publicaccesstheatre.org
Theatrical events by the NUFAN Ensemble.
An improv showcase that welcomes veteran performers and first-timers alike.
For someone mourning the lack of live studio audiences in Chicago since Oprah's departure, this late-night talk show provided welcome relief. And drinks, not Kleenex, were free flowing. On the night I attended, host Tom Bambara interviewed members (human and canine) of the Dog Saving Network and graphic designer Kevin Scarbrough. The dogs' cuteness factor was high, but Bambara's distaste for slobber and witty banter were equally amusing. Then he introduced "more tame but equally as hairy" Scarbrough, who reminisced about drunken tattoos and crazy clients like Big Ass Dog pet food. Andi Woody was charming as Bambara's less-flustered cohost, and musical accompanist James Manno coolly played the sunglasses-wearing Paul Shaffer to Bambara's Letterman. —Marissa Oberlander
Gothic illusionist and proud floor-length-leather-jacket owner Ron Fitzgerald emcees Arkham Noise Productions' burlesque show, which caters to a wide array of fetishes with an alternating lineup of about 100 performers—around a dozen acts on a given night, curated by producer/DJ Miss Ellie Noise. Audience members can watch the show from their bar stools; this month's range of fantasies included domination, flesh hooks, IKEA (DIY kink?), and bathing in public. Still, nearly every act was a striptease at heart, and followed a familiar trajectory: gloves to girdle to brassiere, and then an exuberant reveal. It felt more silly than sexy, and the only clothes remaining onstage at the end were the basketball jerseys that line the back wall of the bar. —Hannah Goldhttp://www.myspace.com/arkhamnoiseproductions
As the country faces deep, divisive questions about the nature and direction of our shared society, some issues are in perilous danger of falling through the cracks. Phish vs. Insane Clown Posse. Friend Zone vs. Bone Zone. Star Trek vs. Star Wars. Curated by Zach Peterson, this excellent debate series enlists some of the city's funniest underground comedians to hash out the overlooked questions of our day. The lineup and topics rotate each week, but on opening night the comics came doubly armed with hard facts and potent bits. Politicians take note: Showing up to a debate in ICP greasepaint is one sure way to polarize a crowd. On the Juggalo question, there can be no middle ground. —Keith Griffith
Improv hosted by EP Productions.http://the-playground.com
An improv show of multiple groups, anchored by the four-man team Koleno. free
Stand-up comedy open mike in Schubas' upstairs lounge. Hosted by Chris Condren, Tyson Karrasch, and Brian Sweeney. 21+http://schubas.com
Local standup and improv groups perform. Kevin White and Jack Ritchie host.
The Vaudezilla Vixens headline this burlesque show.
Sketch groups perform material that "they are still playing around with." 21+http://thepubtheater.com