Two females writhe on the floor, shrieking and laughing and making the kind of racket that only young girls can make – till a man walks in and tells them he’s trying to work. A dad ordering his daughters to quiet down during the lockdown? Actually, it’s his wife and her friend. The pandemic, as Second City’s 109th revue suggests, has brought even mature adults to the brink of hysteria.
To call Together at Last a wild ride is both figuratively and literally correct. The cast has the physical and verbal propulsion of a jetliner. It also opens with a take-off that’s full of Second City irreverence. “The temperature doesn’t matter,” deadpans a flight attendant, “we’re fucked.” “If you’re traveling with a child,” says another, “that sucks.” With 707 days between Mainstage openings – the longest gap in the storied company’s history – this crew is ready to go. To where and from what become the question.
Together at Last Pandemic Mania
Together at Last catches the mania produced by the pandemic. In one sketch, a woman clutches a baby with ferocious protectiveness as she runs a man through a rigorous Covid check, challenging the authenticity of his vaccination card and forcing him to jam a testing swab extra far up his nostril. When finally convinced that he is infection-free, she reluctantly allows him to hold the baby – his newborn granddaughter.
Though not directly related to the pandemic, a sketch in which people confidently exchange information may well have been inspired by Covid’s relentless uncertainty. “I’ll just say I read it in the Atlantic,” says one man to himself. Several more express private doubts about their knowledge, finally coming to the conclusion that “We’re all just talking out of our ass.”
Second City Review Has Improv and Poignant Moment or Two
In a later sketch, three women refresh their social skills with a bar night. They shout out to men in the audience and, keeping a safe social distance between the stage and the tables, come on to them with unleashed desire. In this writer’s opinion, the scene’s raunchiness wore thin. But then, amid the overdone joke, a line of pure improv dazzle popped out. When a male audience said his name was Scott, an actress replied “I love your toilet paper.”
More moments like this would have been welcome throughout a show that sometimes stumbles in its unscripted improv sections. But Together at Last may be a good choice for those seeking a brief trip through ridiculous skies. They may also find the earnest song that closes the show as unexpectedly poignant as did this reviewer: “If the world ends tomorrow/You would still have today…”
Second City Mainstage
230 W. North Ave.
Mary Catherine Curran, Sarah Dell’Amico, Asia Martin, Jordan Savusa, Adam Schreck, Evan Mills
Anneliese Toft (director), Jeff Bouthiette (music director), Jaci Entwisle (stage manager)
Note: Picture This Post reviews are excerpted in Theatre In Chicago
Photos by Michael Brosilow, Timothy M. Schmidt, Marisa KM
About the Author: Susan Lieberman
Susan Lieberman is a Jeff-winning playwright, journalist, teacher and script consultant who commits most of her waking hours to Chicago theatre. Her radio drama In the Shadows aired on BBC Radio 4 last season.