Brick: Ottigan | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Brick: Ottigan

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Brick: Ottigan, Brick Productions, at ImprovOlympic. Brick takes a whack at consumer culture with this artfully dense and diffidently paced revue, a wry reflection of the Marxist rejection of all things bought and sold at the center of the 1989 John Cusack vehicle Say Anything. Brick has taken a few more lessons from that handbook: infectious music plays on the stereo between scenes, and the troupe members deliver the alternately downbeat and droll material with self-effacing charm.

The opening sequence charts a potted flower's progression from miracle of nature to full-blown commodity, but the show's winsome finale provides only a mixed payoff. In between, Brick exploits silence to maximum effect in a scene where Tim Mason discovers he can control an airplane's path from his seat in the passenger section, while Cayne Collier's flight attendant fluidly corrects his posture as the plane pitches back and forth. Marion Oberle's turn as a cutthroat executive in Japanese schoolgirl garb is deliciously weird, Megan Kellie gets in some shocks as a reluctantly expectant mother, and Jen Sheperd's deadpan delivery turns acid. Those who prefer sketch comedy with a more transparent purpose may find Brick's cerebral approach alienating, but the company wins hearts with its unwavering determination.

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