Killing My Lobster | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Killing My Lobster

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Killing My Lobster has dominated the San Francisco alternative performance scene for the past five years with a wonderfully kaleidoscopic perspective on what constitutes good comedy: anything and everything. More than anything else, curiosity informs the group's work; they've dipped their fingers into all sorts of pots, from digital video to animation to puppet musicals. But sketch comedy remains Killing My Lobster's bread and butter, and their latest show--the first to be staged outside the friendly confines of California--certainly honors their reputation for crisp writing and slick performance. Killing My Lobster Breaks the Bank, a collection of manic vignettes about money and commerce, isn't a flawless exercise: scenes skewering vapid ad-agency office politics and the lifestyles of the idle rich quickly spiral into self-indulgence. But the show also boasts more than its share of brilliant moments, from a pointed rumination on the dot-com shakeout to the show's madcap finale, a hilarious parody of Hair that reinvents the rock musical as paean to capitalism. It's worth the price of admission just to watch the troupe's accompanists shake their moneymakers on the klezmer bits, cartoon overture, and jazz-steeped orchestral interludes. Killing My Lobster Breaks the Bank certainly edges closer to the ideal of "truth in comedy" than anything that's graced Chicago stages in the post-Del Close era. The show, part of the Chicago Comedy Festival, also includes an appearance by Chicago improv comics Dana & Julia. Black Orchid, Piper's Alley, 230 W. North, 312-944-2200 or 312-559-1212. May 31 and June 2: Thursday, 11 PM; Saturday, 9 PM. $15-$20.

--Nick Green

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