Headlines | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


HEADLINES, at the Apollo Theater. Drawing inspiration from newspapers strewn about the stage, the troupe of Neil McNamara, Amanda Blake Davis, Ryan Gowland, and Abby Schachner presents a relatively loose long-form improvisation built mostly of alternating two-person dialogues. Judging by their poise on a blisteringly bad opening night, they're capable of much better than what I saw; some of their difficulties, however, stem from the ground rules themselves. Fading from one scene to another can make for a richer, deeper pool of associations, but eschewing buttons and sharp edits is also like tying one arm behind your back. Reusing the newspapers as props is a similarly high-risk, low-yield investment--they're not very malleable and tend simply to distract from the action.

Improv is always a roll of the dice, though, and any time you see players this seasoned stumbling through a quagmire of stock riffs on visits to the doctor, somewhat closeted homosexuality, and performance art, you know the gods were thinking snake eyes all along. Given a more auspicious evening--and better choices early on--the group's talents suggest they might well succeed at the task they've set themselves.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Give $35/month →  
  Give $10/month →  
  Give  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment