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Suspicious Clowns 9 

The name fits: Viable Theater Company's Suspicious Clowns is a sketch ensemble that uses a lot of physical comedy to communicate a cynical, at times anarchic worldview. Under director-performer Vincent Truman's nuanced direction, their ninth revue showcases tight, clever writing and loose, confident performances. It's refreshing to watch a show move along so unpredictably and get laughs in so many ways. There's slapstick (Mr. Al Qaeda senselessly wallops his meek wife), inventive plot twists (a mean kidnapper turns out to be a hostage's well-intentioned henchman), sight gags (an armless grocery cashier), over-the-top funny talk (sex-act slang at a kids' show), and metatheater (a "bit player" requests more stage time). This is small-company sketch comedy at its best: smart, dark, and daffy. --Ryan Hubbard a Through 6/30: Fri-Sat 10:30 PM, Live Bait Theater, 3914 N. Clark, 630-886-3245 or 773-282-0344, $10, 18+.

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