Review “The Winner…of our Discontent” (The Second City): It’s all in the name!

Thursday, December 15, 2016 Permalink

sc_mainstage_105th_revue_1440x823_002The Second City presents the 105th Mainstage Revue THE WINNER… OF OUR DISCONTENT.

The name of this show made me LOL… a few times. Shantira Jackson, Paul Jurewicz, Kelsey Kinney, Martin Morrow, Rashawn Nadine Scott, Jamison Webb (writers and performers) kick off their Trump tribute with a Chicago reflection.  They contrast the emotional roller coaster of being behind in the World Series and being ahead in the presidential election. The cast is divided on opposite sides of the stage.  To the left, the trio watch the nail-biting baseball game.  To the right, the crew observe the heart-wrenching election returns. The startling conclusions of both major events is the high and low of 2016.  The clever sketch mirrors the time period where are spirits soared and later plummeted within a week.  I laughed but the reality of those days of disillusionment still sting for me.

Under the direction of Anthony LeBlanc, the show is an election post mortem.Election bits pepper the revue. The talented ensemble work through their anger, grief and fear by poking fun of white privilege.  Paul Jurewicz and Jamison Webb slick back their hair as the Trump brothers and hilariously stroll through the audience to find childhood commonality.  Shantira Jackson compares ‘black heaven’ to ‘white heaven.’ In the aftermath of ugly campaign rhetoric that attacked minorities, women and the disabled, The Second City is focused on finding the funny in a split America of us and them. The theatre signage reflects zero tolerance for hate speech from cast or audience.  And even though the cast is diverse, the audience is overly white. There’s a tension I’ve never experienced at The Second City.  I want to assure the cast and my fellow audience members that I may be white and from the overturn Greyhound bus aka Indiana, I’m part of ‘us.’  Some of the humor is lost in our great continental divide.

Still, multiple signature lampoons provide the much needed escape from reality.  Son and mother, Jurewicz and Kelsey Kinney get high in a Subaru and compare lives.  And the always effervescent Rashawn Nadine Scott plays a drama teacher subbing in drivers’ ed.  Scott morphs into a variety of characters to attempt to elevate the joy in the room. The challenge is real. The results are sporadic.  This current show provides comic relief in between serious reminders of the uncertainty we face. I wanted to laugh more I just couldn’t. This time in our history is truly THE WINNER…OF OUR DISCONTENT.

Running Time:Two hours includes an intermission
At The Second City, 1616 N. Wells
Written and performed by Shantira Jackson, Paul Jurewkickicz, Kelsey Kinney, Martin Morrow, Rashawn Nadine Scott, Jamison Webb
Directed by Anthony LeBlanc
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays at 8pm
Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and 11pm
Sundays at 7pm and 10pm
Buy Tickets at http://www.secondcity.com/tickets/

For more information and reviews on Chicago theatre, visit Theater in Chicago.

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