Pick-ups and Hiccups | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Pick-ups and Hiccups

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Even the best Chicago-based improv troupes can suffer from lassitude, knowing they don't have to try too hard because their fellow improvisers in the audience will stick with them no matter what. Jill Benjamin and Seth Meyers are a little different, however: ImprovOlympic alums, they really earned their chops before paying crowds at the Amsterdam-based for-profit Boom Chicago--and it shows in their energy, their accessibility, and their constant interaction with the audience. In this remarkably entertaining two-person show, they don't just take suggestions--they interview the audience, picking our brains and then presenting improvised sketches about what's on our collective mind. In one hilarious routine, Benjamin and Meyers created a prototypical date complete with idle chitchat and confessed ambitions made up entirely of details culled from the audience. Adding to the onstage fire is Benjamin and Meyers's combination of sexual tension and disgust with each other, a combination that also powered other great male-female comedy teams (Nichols and May, Stiller and Meara). Half the bits in Pick-ups and Hiccups are scripted, but it's the improvised material that shows this quick-witted duo to best advantage. Live Bait Theater, 3914 N. Clark, 312-409-0119. Through June 5: Saturdays, 11 PM. $12. --Jack Helbig

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