Weirdass: UnMentionables | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Weirdass: UnMentionables 

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Stephnie Weir and Robert Dassie, who are married, have probably gained more insight into each other's idiosyncrasies by sharing a stage than by sharing a bathroom--and watching them perform together is always a treat. After turning long-form improvisation on its head at ImprovOlympic with the jazz-influenced ensemble pieces Trio and Quartet, they've made their way to Weir's old stomping ground, Second City, to conduct a clinic of sorts on sketch comedy. WeirDass is the product of a year's worth of improvisational performances in Chicago and New York plus new pieces that director Tracy Thorpe helped develop. The two haven't strayed far from their roots: this hour-long collection of sketches plays much like a standard Second City revue, complete with running gags, flashbacks, and an emphasis on character-driven humor. The segments obviously tailored to the pair's default modes--Weir is the manic nutcase, Dassie the cool straight man--are engaging enough, but the two achieve much more when they're playing against type. In the show's most curious scene, Weir barely speaks or moves while Dassie pulls the molding off an invisible window. It's the sort of dense theatrical exercise that might seem dull in almost anyone else's hands. But these seasoned performers are so perfectly attuned to each other's rhythms that they can make just about anything watchable, even mesmerizing. The Second City E.T.C., Piper's Alley, 1608 N. Wells, 312-337-3992 or 877-778-4707. Through June 20: Tuesdays-Wednesdays, 10 PM. $12.

--Nick Green

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

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