Naked TV | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Naked TV 

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Naked Tv, InFusion Productions, at American Blues Theatre. If you have a hankering for comedy, why would you go out to see improv when you can just as easily stay home, in the comfort of your living room with the kitchen nearby, and watch TV? Should a show get boring, a cable box ensures a host of other possibilities. InFusion Productions trades on our short attention spans by creating audience-interactive improv that acknowledges the addictive power of television--and especially that tool of total empowerment, the remote control.

Using mock-Nielsen questionnaires for audience suggestions, the Naked TV players come up with a "TV Guide" for that night's show, offering everything from movie-of-the-week melodrama to everybody's-got-a-cause talk shows. What makes this improv show so much fun is that we, the audience, have the power to say "click," pause the action, and switch channels according to our whim. The night I saw the show, even though some of the group's members were missing because of the big Improv-Olympic reunion party, the energetic players jumped from one program to another with ease. Arthur Solomon was a particularly refreshing presence in this otherwise twentysomething group; his savvy intelligence provided such rich characters as a curmudgeonly Irish landlord and an on-the-mark Freudian psychiatrist. More improv groups might be stronger if they cultivated such seasoned individuals as players.

Naked TV reminds us why we do leave home to see theater: spontaneous human interaction beats the canned stuff fed us from the tube.

--Gabrielle S. Kaplan

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