The Odds | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The Odds 

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The Odds, Entertainment Focus Group, at WNEP Theater. You don't need riverboats or Las Vegas to gamble. Life's a gamble. Do you take the job out of town or stay and marry your college sweetheart? Do you save money for retirement or spend it? This sketch-comedy revue, written by the Entertainment Focus Group and directed by Brendan Gardiner, shows the many faces of chance: the guy betting his rent money at a blackjack table, a CEO charting his company's direction, a woman pondering the man that got away.

The stories are sliced up and presented in fragments, like puzzle pieces that gradually (at times too gradually) snap together to complete a picture. The humor has more to do with self-recognition than LOL punch lines, but the group has its moments. Garnering laughs are a mother who supports her son as he adjusts to his "quit-gambling patch," some spoofs of commercials for Banco Popular, and a poker-table debate over the name of the actor who played TV's Webster. The biggest kudos go to Matthew Colton as a corporate court jester, skewering his boss with sardonic rhymes and double entendres that Shakespeare would have applauded (most of them in iambic quadrameter, not pentameter, but I think the Bard would have cut him some slack). Aside from a few flat spots in the middle, the production is clean and well executed--not an odds-on favorite, but a safe bet.

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