Mothproof | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader


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Mothproof, at the Cornservatory. The idea behind Mothproof's improv show is to add to, subtract from, or substitute words in a phrase inspired by an audience suggestion, creating extended riffs on the themes that emerge. On opening night the two phrases that evolved as keepers from the audience suggestion of "a wedding" were "brides can handle stress" and a marital corollary, "love is a trap."

Displacement of guilt became the evening's true theme, however. A wife let her husband take the fall (and the chair) for her murder of their gardener, and a soon-to-be bride killed another betrothed woman in a car accident and callously blamed the victim in the police report. The spoofing of ludicrous wedding and criminal-justice rituals reached its macabre apex when a perky caterer desperately campaigned to win a contract for the last meals on death row.

The five opening-night performers--nine actors rotate in the lineup--revealed various levels of skill, from assured excellence to painful uncertainty. The group is mostly drawn from the ranks of various teams at ImprovOlympic, where creator-director T.J. Jagodowski teaches and currently performs. A different improv team kicks off the proceedings each week; the quirky Feast of Pedro warmed up the opening-night audience with panache.

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