IF THE WHITE HOUSE IS A-ROCKIN', DON'T COME A-KNOCKIN', Second City E.T.C. The troupe's 19th revue mocks the mainstream from the fringe, going easier on urban absurdities than on suburban escapism. The longer than usual sketches abandon their cunning premises just in time, introducing us to bizarre creatures: a "virgin" to liquor who joins Grateful Alcoholics to meet experienced people, a man who secretly cohabits with a blind woman and vicariously shares her dates, a funeral groupie who delivers fake eulogies for people, a homeless woman who's sympathetic with Princess Diana's hardships, and a man who's pinned under a train singing farewell to the life he hardly had.
The conventional sketches range from neat skewerings (a used-car salesman promotes his lot with a plane crash) to inverted expectations (a mugger is forced to strip) to cheap, easy shots (a paranoid el passenger, Sylvia Plath interviewed by chirpy morning-talk-show hosts, and a Clinton clone who promises to sleep with every constituent). Director Noah Gregoropoulos moves the varied cast through their witty paces. Rebecca Sohn mines pathos from life's leftovers, Tami Sagher freaks out with chilling casualness, Craig Cackowski offers deadpan reactions to idiotic events, Kristin Ford specializes in control freaks, and Matt Dwyer is relentless as a doctor who diagnoses through statistics, not symptoms. Most deft is Horatio Sanz, who never met a joke he couldn't sharpen.