The Beatbox, Vol. 2 | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The Beatbox, Vol. 2 

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Audience members barely outnumbered performers at this super-sized remount of Dirty South Improv's franchise piece, a no-holds-barred mix of hip-hop and improv comedy. Director Jay Olson--taking over the reins from the show's originator, Zach Ward--has doubled the size of the ensemble and split it into two groups, each accompanied by a beatboxer. Unfortunately a lot of the longer, slower, more edgy scene work of earlier versions has been shelved in the race to keep things fresh, fast, and furious. And despite the apparent wish to take risks, too much time is spent being pleasant and deferential. Still, Olson's cast (which includes several holdovers) responds well to the more competitive atmosphere, relishing the opportunity to show their skills during the improvised rap battles. The closing freestyle session in particular remains an awesomely chaotic spectacle and the truest point of convergence for all the genres involved. Through 3/5: Sat 10:30 PM. Playground Theater, 3209 N. Halsted, 773-426-7820. $10.

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