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Critic's Choice: Second City e.t.c. revue a whirlwind of fun

Published: Thursday, Aug. 11, 2011 10:24 a.m. CST • Updated: Thursday, Aug. 11, 2011 1:54 p.m. CST
Mary Sohn and Tim Baltz appear in “Sky’s the Limit (Weather Permitting)” at Second City e.t.c. (Photo provided)

CHICAGO – A tongue-tied man on a first date, pleading social anxiety disorder, reads prepared questions, as well as responses from a stack of note cards to get him through the experience. At the same time, a know-it-all waiter makes rude comments to the man’s date.

That’s a typical maelstrom parodied in “Sky’s the Limit (Weather Permitting),” Second City e.t.c.’s lively new 35th revue directed by Matt Hovde.

The satiric revue’s sights also light on gay marriage, congressional sex offenders, Chicago’s new mayor, job interviews with unexpected pitfalls and how technology, including sophisticated video games, Twitter and Facebook, has made life more complicated than it once was.

The witty and often lascivious two-hour show was written and performed by Tim Baltz, Brendan Jennings and Mary Sohn, and also includes promising new cast members Aidy Bryant, Michael Lehrer and Jessica Joy.

All told, they do a smart job with skits involving an unpopular office worker whose life undergoes a big change in a dream sequence during a violent storm, three tough boys in trouble at school whose mothers reprimand them and expose their secret soft side and a couple ejected from Wrigley Field because of the guy’s drinking problem.

One of the zaniest skits, an improvisation with audience input, involved the theft of a woman’s purse in a porn shop. Two Keystone Kops, along with a randomly selected “volunteer,” become engaged in a hilarious shoot-’em-up pursuit of the culprit.

Barbs also are directed at the local murder rate, the spread of sexually transmitted disease and politicos who seek to trim Planned Parenthood funding.

A clever bit, done as a sight gag, dramatizes bicycle lane hazards. Another riff is on the ill-prepared husband who learns he’s to be a father.

Musical director Jesse Case, a regular one-man band who handles keyboard, guitar and drums, gets the job done with flying colors.

Tickets, please

What: “”Sky’s the Limit (Weather Permitting)”

Where: Second City e.t.c., 1608 N. Wells St., Chicago (2nd floor or Pipere’s Alley)

When: Open run

Tickets: $22 ($27 on Friday-Saturday)

Show information: 312-337-3992 or www.secondcity.com

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