Mic Check: A Solo Variety Show/Spell: An interactive solo show | iO Theater | Stand-Up | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Zach Zimmerman's Spell

Zach Zimmerman's Spell

William Panek

Mic Check: A Solo Variety Show/Spell: An interactive solo show 

When: Sundays. Continues through June 12 2016
Price: $12
Two actors and a lot of characters fill this part-scripted, part-improvised double bill of solo shows at iO. Cat McDonnell's, performed at an "open mike," switches between satirical bits (my favorite is her precocious, aggressively political grade-school-age stand-up comic) and original songs, accompanying herself on harmonica and guitar. Both sets showcase confident and unique comedic points of view, but it was Spell, a beautifully bizarre set by Zach Zimmerman, that completely won me over. Alt club comedy is a lab for risk-taking, and the risks here—a mini room escape, casting audience members in extended bits, disappearing for stretches at a time—pay off almost as hilariously when they don't play out as expected as when they do. —Dan Jakes



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