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Original Message

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Dual Exhaust may be the only Chicago team with a better record than the Bears right now. Participating in ImprovOlympic's Cage Match last fall, improv duo Zach Ward and Beth Melewski pummeled the competition in eight straight rounds before bowing out undefeated. And this crack team's approach to improv works even better in a noncompetitive setting: Ward and Melewski favor dramatic exposition over punch lines and trust each other's instincts, adding layer upon layer to even the most implausible scenarios. The looseness of their chosen form--a bastardization of the Harold with every ounce of structure bled from it--means that they expend almost as much effort setting traps for themselves as they do on a variety of Houdini acts to escape them. But the payoff for all the time spent chasing false leads is extraordinary: Ward and Melewski's monologues and scenes are seamless, and the narrative is more intricate than a team five times the size (and with five times the technical resources) could muster. ImprovOlympic, 3541 N. Clark, 773-880-0199. Through January 25: Fridays, midnight. Free.

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