BLIND SIDE, Circuit Court Jester, at Live Bait Theater. This sketch-comedy revue, directed by John Stoops, is exceptionally well put together. Its staging is crisp and focused, using spotlights, blackouts, and just enough costumes and props to achieve its simple stylized effects. Sketches move fast and never run too long, with virtually lagless transitions and bursts of high-energy music. Katie Watson's nuanced writing intelligently fits its topics and includes a smattering of blue humor to keep the late-night audience happy. And the cast--improv pros Watson, Michael Bertrando, Brendan Dowling, Christina Gausas, and Brian Golinvaux--is warm and versatile with impeccable comic timing. With all this going for it, the show is damn fine work, though it should be funnier--it frequently hovers at a giggly level just shy of hilarity.
One laugh-limiting factor may be its demographic slant. Bits about office politics, former one-night stands meeting sheepish on the el, motivational speakers, obtuse teen counselors, and a pharmaceutical-addicted, household-cleaner-huffing middle-class mom all seem pitched to the same young north-side-meets-north-suburbs sensibility. Still, they're cleverly done, and they're balanced by riskier sketches such as "KKK Geography Camp." And hidden among them are two bona fide comic gems: "The Rectum Monologues," a tear-inducing parody of the orificial show that won't close, and a chat with "Murray" the Osco photo-shop guy, whose visual aids demonstrate once again that there's no such thing as a too-dumb sight gag.