Local improviser and former chef Frank Janisch has two great passions: cooking and comedy. As a frequent guest on the Food Network's Ready...Set...Cook! he's been able to combine these interests to great effect, dazzling audiences with his irreverent blend of off-the-cuff humor and kitchen wizardry. His shtick also translates well to live performance; one night each month since the beginning of summer he and a cast of dozens have been transforming the Annoyance Theatre into the "Dreary Lane Dinner Playhouse." The product of their efforts, a series called Taint!, is a fast-paced, very clever send-up of both tacky dinner theater and cooking shows. While Janisch instructs the audience on how to prepare the show's menu, the Dreary Lane Players--who double as hosts and servers during the cooking segments--perform an original musical revue based on the evening's theme. Last month's show, "Lentyl!," paired an extended parody of Yentl and other Barbra Streisand vehicles with Jewish cuisine. Next week's performance--the last scheduled installment of Taint! for the year--pays homage to the actress who hit her peak early with The Exorcist: "The Linda Blair Witch Project!" spoofs supernatural thrillers. For this occasion Janisch will whip up a Halloween-themed meal complete with deviled eggs, bloody roast beef, and devil's food cake. The show's musical parodies are hilarious, but Janisch's generous cooking alone is worth the price of admission. Annoyance Theatre, 3747 N. Clark, 773-929-6200. Thursday, October 28, 8:30 PM. $10.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Victor Salvo.