Guess What's In My Pocket | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Guess What's In My Pocket

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Guess What's In My Pocket, Brick Theatre, at Wing & Groove Theatre. I never liked it when old men asked me this. Fortunately, this audience-participation piece is not the pervfest the title suggests. Conceived and written (term used loosely--there's all sorts of ad-libbing) by the Brick ensemble, the play begins with a dream: Samantha (Molly Meehan) is directed to find the Golden Schnuckle. Whenever she reaches some kind of crossroads, two mediators appear (Daniel J. DeVito and Angela Howard) to debate the issue and select an audience member to make a decision about it.

It's a wonderful concept. But it needs more craft--a lot more. Scripts based on improvisation can be funny and tell a story, but they need to go through many rounds of polishing to trim the rambling, monotone sentences and the jokes that might be cute on their own yet don't fit into the larger context. And even in an intimate, casual setting, actors need to create full-blown characters. James Weber is the only cast member to do so consistently--and he cracks all the best jokes too, with Kerri Van Auken coming in a close second. Once each section is revisited--dialogue cleaned up, characters defined and developed, good old-fashioned narrative structure applied--the result should be a crisp, engaging story no matter where the audience sends Samantha and friends.

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