Words | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Words 

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WORDS, Second City Outreach Program and DMG Freedom, at Donny's Skybox Studio. It's difficult to give all 19 performers their moment in the spotlight during such a short show (70 minutes tops). But under the direction of Claudia Wallace, the third annual Words revue emerges as an ego-free evening of song, dance, poetry, mime, and of course sketch and improv comedy.

Ironically, these last two elements--Second City staples--are the most severely hampered by the show's vaudeville format. With limited time for development, dialogue-driven scenes rarely move beyond their premises (fortuitously in some cases, like the bit about a guy regretting the loss of a second date with a girl he murdered on their first). More appealing are the solo turns relying on individual skills: guitarist Matthew "Motep" Woods performs Andalusian-tinged songs, Eliki Kogiones offers a cappella jazz vocals, and Arianne Benford delivers a Slam-worthy diatribe on our city's education system. In the evening's centerpiece, Kogiones and Benford join dancer Hettie Barnhill for a Valentine's Day ode that seamlessly integrates aural, verbal, and kinetic expression.

The level of expertise is uneven--a hazard of this sort of undertaking. But by the finale it's clear that the show boasts some of tomorrow's stars.

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