Bassprov | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader


Like Garrison Keillor's "News From Lake Woebegon," this series of improvised one-acts delivers episode after episode in an ongoing comic soap opera poking fun at a beloved gaggle of provincials. One of the show's strengths is that Mark Sutton and Joe Bill, who started Bassprov, have played small-town Hoosiers Donny Weaver and Earl Hinkle off and on since 2001. As the two of them while away their time in Donny's bass boat, drowning worms, popping beers, and shooting the breeze, they allude not only to current events but to a complicated cast of local characters and a repertoire of the town's incidents and landmarks. It's a mix just as appealing to the evening's newcomers as it is to return customers. At this point the backstory is so rich and the secondary characters are so well developed that Bassprov soars even when Sutton or Bill isn't in it. The night I caught the show it was performed by Sutton and improv virtuoso T.J. Jagodowski, who always plays the awkward adolescent Vaughn--hilarious. Through 5/31: Tue 9:30 PM. ImprovOlympic, 3541 N. Clark, 773-880-0199. $5.

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