June 2012 Review by Sally Jo Osborne
Second City Improv Extravaganza Explosion
If your idea of a fun afternoon is being chased around by a giant tomato go to the Second City Improv Extravaganza Explosion at the new UP Comedy Club. Second City knows fun and a fun show this is. It's about time that the kids get to join in the silliness and have a ball. With a rotating cast of ten actors this hour long show will leave you chuckling.
There is a "boy" who has this fear of tomatoes, just doesn't like them and he let the audience know that if they see a tomato to be sure and let him know. Sure enough a giant tomato appears and runs through the audience to some catchy dance music chasing the boy down. He escapes though not once, not twice but three times when he realizes all the tomato really wants is a hug and to be friends. Sound silly? Sure is, but it was my 5 year old Ella's favorite part of the show.
There is just enough audience participation to make it an interactive and exciting time for the young audience members to have the opportunity to go on stage and show us their blooming improv skills. Nothing too difficult, just playing an animal or posing for pictures. One little girl got to ring the bell on stage during a skit where the actors play freeze frame. A little boy got to participate in the newly added Olympic sport of opening a refrigerator, a suggestion from the audience when asked what is something you do once a day. Very clever stuff.
Johnny Milkshake made a few appearances. He is a standup comedian who has to tell a joke when the audience suggest a subject. He does this at different comedy clubs, be it The Shark Club, The Bear Club, or the Cat Club and guess what? If the joke is not funny he gets eaten by the shark, the bear, or the cat. Whether performing with a neck brace or crutches he manages to get through it.
The big scary baby of improv makes it to the large video screen for your entertainment pleasure and we learn that baby does know how to smile too. One of the final skits was taken from a suggestion of the audience again as it goes in the improv arena, only this one involved a grown up participant. A remake of "Beauty and the Beast" performed in 1 minute! Then again in 30 seconds! Then again in 15 seconds! Then would you believe in 5 seconds? It actually is easier to follow after seeing it three times. Only at Second City can this make sense.
Recommended for ages 5 and up, you can have lunch before and during the show which is really a nice touch. After the show there is a big spinning wheel out in the lobby area where kids can spin it and win as long as they improvise along the way. Ella played her first air guitar and won a Second City pin which was fun. The cast is available for pictures to create lasting memories for you and the kids to look back on. You never know who may be the next rising star. The show is at noon on Saturdays and doors open at 11:30 AM. You can see this show again and again and again because every show will be different! Grab the kids and have some fun! Photos by Clayton Hauck.
About Sally Jo Osborne
Sally is a native Chicagoan who has appeared at various Chicago theatres throughout the years. She has performed at Circle Theatre in Forest Park with roles in "Evita," "Hair," "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Shrubtown". She performed with The Malibusch Players in "Little Shop of Horrors" and played her favorite role of Sheila in their production of "A Chorus Line". She fell in love with live theatre at the age of 12 when she saw her first play, "Grease" at the Mill Run Theatre.
Sally graduated from The Players Workshop at Second City in Chicago and has completed coursework within Second City Writer's Workshop. She particularly enjoyed the challenge of writing and performing her own material. A financial planner by day, Sally resides in the North Shore area and she is very passionate about theatre. She plans to share the magic of the performing arts with her young daughter with hopes that Ella will teach her how to play "Angry Bird" on her phone. Chicago Stage Style is excited to share her enthusiasm and unique point of view with audiences of all ages and to make the performing arts a valuable and important asset to generations both present and future.