The Best of the Second City | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

The Best of the Second City 

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The title suggests that Second City luminaries got together and pored over the comedy institution's hundreds of sketches, then picked the funniest for restaging. That's not what happened. Each of the SC touring companies--GreenCo, BlueCo, and RedCo--programmed its own show, which can change, and alternates performances with the others. They all favor sketches they can see on video, so most of the material is from the mid-90s on. They also focus on characters they can do, and rightly so--who but Chris Farley could pull off his squatting motivational speaker? Each group also adds a few original sketches and some improv. For those familiar with the Second City and E.T.C. revues, these performances may feel like the minor leagues: in general the timing is less crisp and the players are less demonstrative and charismatic. But the execution is still consistently good, and occasionally the "Best of ... " performers outshine the originals, as when BlueCo's Michael Lehrer tackles a sketch from the current main-stage show, playing a working-class Chicagoan giving a live audio tour of the Art Institute. All the companies, but especially RedCo, are very funny in the improv bits. a Open run: Mon 8 PM (free improv set follows), Sat 4 PM, Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 312-337-3992, $14-$19. --Ryan Hubbard

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): BluCo photo by Bob Knuth.

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