Suspicious Clowns 5: Clown on a Hot Tin Roof | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Suspicious Clowns 5: Clown on a Hot Tin Roof 

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Suspicious Clowns 5: Clown on a Hot Tin Roof, Viable Theater Company, at Prop Thtr. Murder, incest, abortion. These are just a few of the issues addressed in Suspicious Clowns' fifth sketch-comedy revue. Aiming to be edgy, they sometimes teeter over into bad taste, as in a sketch about rape--but mostly they shine. Led by director-performer Vincent Truman, the tight ensemble (which also includes Sarah Snow, Arthur Simone, Cynthia Whitworth, Kelly Stanley, Jeb Cadwell, and Lauren Ryland) takes imaginative leaps that pay off in gasping, belly-aching laughs.

In the best sketch, a man seeking not sex but cliches picks up a "cliche whore," who then spews out seductive phrases like "a dime a dozen," "all's well that ends well," and "America is a democracy." When he gets arrested, the scene turns into a parody of true-crime shows. A narrator tells us that in seedy bars and back alleys across America, people are looking for cliches. A police officer is interviewed and says that protection is possible--all people need is irony or wit. Cliche victims put in their, uh, two cents. Striking from many angles, this sketch showcases what's delicious about these smart, creative risk takers: unafraid to be silly on occasion, they have fun with their material.

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