Long Form Overdrive | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Long Form Overdrive

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Long Form Overdrive, at WNEP Theater. Spontaneity only gets you so far in improvisation--even the most adept player is doomed to flounder without some structure. That's even more true of long-form improv, which can easily become chaotic. So it goes without saying that this attempt at "long form improv where there is no 'form'" is a risky venture.

The group Long Form Overdrive certainly has enough brainpower to make this Herculean task seem possible: its dozen members are drawn from such esteemed institutions as WNEP, Galileo Players, and the Annoyance, troupes with track records of intelligent improvisation. But the structure Long Form Overdrive has chosen--a single audience suggestion--falls by the wayside of this hour-long free-for-all before the first few scenes are over. What's left is a cacophonous mess, as some pretty talented improvisers awkwardly shout and stumble over one another in attempts to establish primacy.

With as many as four scenes taking place simultaneously, there are bound to be a few epiphanies. But as a rule our expectations are unmet: the soup's palatable, but there are too many cooks butting heads in this tiny kitchen.

--Nick Green

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