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Felt

Open run: Wed 8 PM

There's just something about cussing puppets--and this improvised puppet show by the Atticus Finch ensemble suggests bitter, rejected prototypes of Elmo, Chewbacca, McGruff the Crime Dog, and Crank Yankers/Muppets characters ganging up in a dark alley off Sesame Street. But the troupe's nine members exceed the old, easy laugh of vulgar-talking innocents: after tutorials from professional puppeteers and a few months of practice, they display sophisticated physical control as they wield the puppets from behind the curtains of a bilevel ministage. Seamlessly creating gestures and quick takes (hilariously deadpan on the perfectly blank cartoonish faces), they also smoothly execute difficult maneuvers like sliding a quarter across a bar or crossing the stage via motorized scooter. Sharp timing and self-mockery point to the performers' long experience together, though the motley mob of puppets takes center stage: Felt is improv cut from new cloth. —Ryan Hubbard $5

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iO Theater (map)
1501 N. Kingsbury
Wrigleyville Felt

I Saw You

Open run: Wed 8 PM,

Bruised Orange Theater Company's I Saw You is a charming theatrical interpretation of "I Saw You," "Matches," and "X-Matches" listings from the Reader. Performed in bars, each show features a rotating cast of three actors presenting ads published in the past year, the yearnings of their anonymous characters echoing the banter, flirting, and stares of the patrons. The material is naturally funny--"I backed up your toilet something fierce," "Do you like to churn butter?"--but the actors avoid the trap of easy "sexy" voices and imaginatively embellish the text with a wide range of accents and consistently surprising attitudes (shy to monstrous, robotic monotone to smarmy). —Ryan Hubbard $5

http://bruisedorange.org
Town Hall Pub (map)
3340 N. Halsted St.
Wrigleyville
phone 773-472-4405
I Saw You

TJ & Dave

Open run: Wed 10:30 PM

Veteran comedians T.J. Jagodowski and Dave Pasquesi perform a long-form improv show each week. $5

iO Theater (map)
1501 N. Kingsbury
Wrigleyville TJ & Dave

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3033

Open run: Sun 10:30 PM

A comedy supergroup consisting mainly of former members of People of Earth, 3033 creates some of the liveliest, most consistently solid improv around. Members Andy St. Clair and Alex Fendrich have been highlights of recent Second City E.T.C. shows; Rush Howell, a lawyer by day, is one of the scene's wittiest performers; and Bill Arnett and Danny Mora are personable comedians with off-beat senses of humor. Unlike most troupes at iO, 3033 doesn't stick with the Harold improv format. Instead, they play it loose, letting an audience suggestion and Jason Chin's playful music and light effects steer them. At a recent show the topic of gangs inspired a hilarious 70s-era game show. —Ryan Hubbard $5

http://chicago.ioimprov.com/
iO Theater (map)
1501 N. Kingsbury
Wrigleyville 3033

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Dummy

Open run: Tue 8 PM
,

Colleen Doyle and Jason Shotts, no strangers to the Chicago improv scene, continue to cook up subtle, spontaneous scenes to order in their new Tuesday-evening slot at iO. The night I went they played out the story of a recently married couple enjoying a brief, romantic stay at a bed-and-breakfast. Both actors played two characters—a honeymooner as well as an inkeeper—and both had an excellent sense for navigating their constantly shifting roles. The performance was slow to start, but ended up being unexpectedly elegant; a plot emerged that was as tidily made as a hotel bed. The production managed to find laughs in minute details and dark discoveries. —Hannah Gold $12

iO Theater (map)
1501 N. Kingsbury
Wrigleyville Dummy

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