Bang Bang | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The fact that improv requires nothing more than an empty space and a willing audience makes it very attractive to neophyte comedy groups with little or no capital--and often, unfortunately, little or no original material. That's what makes a company like Bang Bang, with its discipline and considerable wit, almost a revelation. The company consists of a core group of some of Chicago's finest actors (Paul Dillon, Tracy Letts, Reggie Hayes, Tara Chocol, Michael Shannon, and Eric Winzenreid, to name just a few). Their experience serves them well, and a system of "surprise guest stars" such as Cardiff Giant members Bob and Laura Fisher increases the possibilities. But the real star of the show is the nerve and spirit of exploration that every member of the group displays. Scenes are never played just for laughs, with performers vying for center stage. Instead, the actors actually listen to one another and follow the natural flow of an idea or situation. Don't be surprised to see a lighthearted domestic scene metamorphose into a nightmare of murder and insanity. While the group continues its open run at the No Exit cafe, its other venue, Remains Theatre, is doomed for the wrecking ball. One can only assume that the manic energy of working under such conditions will add to the spice of the group's unique performances. No Exit, 6970 N. Glenwood, 743-3355. Open run: Wednesdays, 10:40 PM. 99 cents (includes admission to In One Ear earlier the same evening--see listing under Performance). Also at Remains Theatre, 1800 N. Clybourn, 335-9800. Through October 30: Fridays-Saturdays, 11:30 PM; no show Saturday, October 23, because of Remains's benefit party "The Wrecking Ball" (call 335-9595 for more information). $2.

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

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