Toast of the Town | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Toast of the Town

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In Scott Oken and Ernest Deak's self-consciously zany comedy for Factory Theater, a playwright (Mike Beyer) is given the chance of a lifetime when a prestigious Chicago company agrees to produce his play if he can pull off rehearsals in two and a half weeks. Toast of the Town features wacky characters, rubber chickens, funny voices, bad puns, face slapping, cartoonish double takes, and Keystone Kops-style chases. But as directed by Nick Digilio, the actors seem to believe that the louder they talk the funnier they are, and tedious blackouts slow the pace. With his elastic body, Matt Engle is genuinely funny as a waiter/actor, Heather L. Tyler deliciously underplays a pregnant woman, and a few quick-witted, fast-paced scenes with the domineering director (Laura McKenzie) and her two hangers-on (Oken and Allison Cain) give us a taste of what might have been. Through 5/8: Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 7 PM. Mon 5/2, 8 PM. Prop Thtr, 3502-4 N. Elston, 312-409-3247. $18; industry night Mon 5/2.

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