Gentlemen Prefer Bonds | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Gentlemen Prefer Bonds 

GENTLEMEN PREFER BONDS, or girls just wanna have funds, at the Apollo Theater Center. Aaron Freeman is a noisy guy: brash, excitable, eager to show you how witty and informed he is. But team him up with somebody like John Dempsey (one of his sidekicks on his radio show, Metropolis) or Rob Kolson (his partner here as well as in the long-running Do the White Thing), and another Aaron emerges: Aaron the likable, Aaron the sensitive, Aaron the guy with superb listening skills.

Which is why Freeman does so much better when he's working with someone--preferably someone on the quiet, wonky side. That way he gets to display both sides of his personality, the verbally aggressive comic and the good listener. And it's the kinder, softer Freeman who saves this light, sweet nothing of a comedy revue again and again. I mean, there's nothing special about Freeman and Kolson's material (which they wrote with two Second City alums, Tyrone Finch and Tom Purcell). Too many of the jokes feel like retreads from Do the White Thing ("A libertarian is an anarchist with a credit card") or outtakes from a Mark Russell special. But the warm, friendly way Freeman and Kolson interact--Kolson delivers a line, Freeman builds on it, Kolson builds on Freeman's response, and so on--elevates even the lightest material and makes the few moments of true improvisation, as when Freeman pulls out that day's Trib and brilliantly riffs on the headlines, soar.

--Jack Helbig

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More by Jack Helbig

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