The Humperdink Family Reunion and Bassprov | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

The Humperdink Family Reunion and Bassprov 

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The premise of Bassprov sounds unpromising: a couple of guys sit around drinking beer, pretending to fish for bass and shooting the shit. But improv tricksters Joe Bill and Mark Sutton, well seasoned by their years at the Annoyance, are after more than yet another show full of shallow Hicksville stereotypes. True, the characters they play are probably only a year or two of unemployment away from full white-trashdom, and they're fond of pastimes that upper-middle-class types consider dumb, like fishing and riding go-karts. But as they swap stories and homespun philosophies, they themselves are not dumb--they're fully aware of the ironies and contradictions of the world around them, creating a show in the tradition of Mark Twain. Sometimes Bill and Sutton invite a third or fourth guy to join them, and this weekend they share the stage with Ed Furman (Thursday), Tim Kazurinsky (Friday), and T.J. Jagodowski and Furman (Saturday). Preceding Bassprov is a one-woman show, The Humperdink Family Reunion, in which Stacey Hallal--a recent transplant from Oregon--attempts to play all 20 members of a goofy clan. Though not all of her impersonations are convincing, her script could use editing, and she has a tendency to deliver her lines at the same clip, the show has a few charming moments, especially when Hallal plays an angst-ridden control freak or a rebellious adolescent. Loop Theater, 8 E. Randolph, 312-744-5667. Through May 22: Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 PM. $15.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Owen Carey.

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