Big Bad Wolf! (vs. Lord Underwearface Von Schtinker), Second City Children's Theatre. This show's goofy chase scenes, sing-alongs, and requests for audience suggestions might be enough in themselves to delight children. But success is guaranteed when kids are asked to stick on a set of whiskers and join in a mustache dance with a villain sporting tighty whities on his head. Happily, the production should also be amusing for the adults accompanying its target audience.
Though there are improvised elements in each performance, the core story remains the same: the Big Bad Wolf gets blamed for a crime perpetrated by Lord Underwearface von Schtinker, just as the wolf was in the "Three Pigs Brouhaha of '86" and the "Red Riding Hood Grandma Massacre" (both reenacted for our benefit). Teaching children that things aren't always what they seem, the show also has plenty of jokes for the chaperones--improvising during the opening, the performers even had to remind one another that this was a kids' show.
Sue Gillan directs an ebullient cast: Martin Garcia as the fabulously misunderstood Big Bad Wolf, and Abby Sher, Debra Downing, Joel Mehr, and Keegan-Michael Key in multiple roles. Supported by music director T.J. Shanoff, the performers throw themselves--sometimes sloppily--into a quick-witted, quirky show that takes a fresh approach to familiar tales and offers funny asides rooted in pop culture and postmodern sensibilities.