Schadenfreude | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Schadenfreude, Wing & Groove Theatre. There are several brawls in Schadenfreude's new late-night sketch show, along with pointed political commentary, rock music, a raunchy mnemonic to remember the names of important aldermen, and Justin Kaufmann's infamous sparkly underwear. The show is loud, funny, and outrageous, and it knows its audience: hip urbanites in their 20s and 30s. One of the few troupes to take on local politics, this six-member ensemble--Kaufmann, Mark Hanner, Kate James, Sandy Marshall, Stephen Schmidt, and Adam Witt--manages to be simultaneously chaotic, smart, and funny. Racing around the stage, they target aldermanic and big-business corruption. They take aim at a local apartment-rental company that refuses to return security deposits, but they also develop character-based sketches that poke gentle fun at the foibles of ordinary folks. The most sharply satiric sketch looks at September 11 in an Iraq-free world 150 years from now, when commemoration turns to celebration that includes after-holiday sales and magic kangaroos that bring presents to children; the most innovative sketch is a face-off at the MCA between an earnest performance artist and the wheel hub of a car. That the ensemble manage to pull off both is a testament to their imagination and intelligence.

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