Yodellers | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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YODELLERS, Ethico Productions, at Second City, Donny's Skybox Studio. Be warned: this show has nothing to do with warbled shouts or things Alpine. The title comes from a sobriquet for lesbianism (the other word is "canyon"), and the play's milieu, naturally, is the world of professional golf. Amy Landecker plays sapphic star Meg Boot, and Joe Dempsey is Lorne Rubenstein, a highly knowledgeable (obsessive?) sports reporter covering the U.S. Open. When Meg wins the tournament she also captures Lorne's heart, which proves the start of an intense though sexless affair.

It sounds like a Chasing Amy scenario, but Yodellers is more an inversion of that modern staple of unrequited love, "My Gay Best Friend" (think Will & Grace or any vehicle for Rupert Everett and an overrated star). Fortunately, both structures are just excuses for playwrights Michael Healey and Kate Lynch to craft a good-natured, old-school screwball comedy. Sure, there's a whole lot of double entendres about strokes, holes, and shafts, but the real point is rat-a-tat dialogue and razor-sharp pacing.

The bursts of Benny Goodman's "Sing, Sing, Sing" that punctuate scenes might have seemed intrusive with other material--but here they're a perfect fit. Young veterans Dempsey and Landecker, who have a lovely comic rapport, are likewise more than a match for the banter's twin demands of speed and enunciation. And director Hallie Gordon keeps the show ripping along without ever sacrificing focus. Excellent work all around.

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