The crowd is ushered into Second City’s mainstage theater. We’re seated at our tables. Drinks are ordered. Music is blasting. As the pre-show announcement finishes, the lights dim, and the cast assembles on stage. They strike a pose, and then run off as strobe lights start.
Definitely not out of the ordinary for a comedy show. That is, until a cast member returns with a black crow’s head mask on. What on earth does that mean?? We’re in for a night of random and surprising twists in this 108th Mainstage Revue, DO YOU BELIEVE IN MADNESS.
Second City Tried and True Format
DO YOU BELIEVE IN MADNESS has a fast pace, as one expects from a comedy show. It keeps the ball rolling with different comedic bits, and doesn’t stick on one for too long. We’ve got those long form sketches, short interludes with quippy one liners, songs, and, of course ,some improv games.
The format is similar to the Second City improv shows we’ve seen in the past. The considerable draw is always how this cast is keeping the topics fresh and punchlines surprising.
Fresh Takes on Hot Topics
The cast does well on that element of surprise, in this writer’s opinion, because they slowly draw out the premise of each sketch. We don’t know where the sketch is going, or what the topic is, when the cast first starts out. It’s a seemingly simple car ride, or job interview, or classroom. All of these start out deceptively simple. They slowly morph into topics like being woke, Russian influence on Facebook, and explaining Brexit in a different way.
The cast also mixes it up by throwing in sketches about completely random topics. Two guys are waiting for the bus. A family meets about missing pretzels. A ukulele music lesson is given. They all have twists and turns that draw us in, until they finish out with a snappy ending.
Good Balance of Obscure and Topical Issues
While this revue sticks to a tried and true mix of comedic formats, DO YOU BELIEVE IN MADNESS keeps things surprising by not revealing too much at the start. Instead they draw us in for the big comedic reveal. If you’re not looking for topical comedy, you can sit this one out at home. But if you’re always a fan of improv shows with a variety of comedic bits, this is a good fit for you.
Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO, where it will remain until the end of the run. Click here to read – Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.
Mary Catherine Curran
Through December 16, 2019
Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 pm,
Fridays and Saturdays at 11 pm
Sundays at 7 pm
1616 N. Wells Street
About the Author
Alexis is a theater reviewer, travel bug, media specialist, and burger & beer enthusiast. During the day she works in the advertising business as a senior communications designer. When night falls, or when she can escape to New York, she’s hitting the theaters to see as many shows as she can. And whenever she’s not at her desk or in the audience, she’s out seeking the best burger and beer offerings in Chicago.
Editor's Note: Click here to read more Picture this Post articles by Alexis Bugajski