Friday Night Follies | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Friday Night Follies 

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FRIDAY NIGHT FOLLIES, at Frankie J's MethaDome Theater. Proprietor-impresario Frankie Janisch celebrated his place's second anniversary last weekend with an extended version of this long-running vaudeville show--a mix of improv, music, and magic--in the downstairs restaurant. Hosts Chad Kodiak and Andy Ross, decked out in red bow ties and suits that made them look like the dorky white-boy auxiliary for the Nation of Islam, revealed charm to burn but spent too much time on lengthy bits that didn't pay off. By contrast Marz Timms and Keith Simmerman dove fearlessly into their send-up of fashion-impaired storefront preachers, showing a wicked penchant for audience interaction. Improv powerhouses T.J. Jagodowski and Joe Bill delivered a skillful, silly scene about racing weasels, and Abby Schachner's snippet from her upcoming The Uhhh...bortion Show was a showstopper--though it might have put a damper on some people's appetites.

The folks at Frankie J's say that the shows in the rest of the run won't be as long as the one I saw. That would be wise: tighter pacing and greater consideration for the room's pitfalls--those easily distracted should beware--could turn this revue into a delightful addition to the fine cuisine.

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