The Second City presents its 106th Mainstage revue, DREAM FREAKS FALL FROM SPACE.
Although the clunky title may not roll off the tongue like a signature Second City pun, these dream freaks fall nicely together in this space. This is one solid ensemble. Under the skillful direction of Ryan Bernier, Kelsey Kinney, Ryan Asher, Tyler Davis, Jeffrey Murdoch, Tien Tran, and Nate Varrone are tight. The show starts with Varrone setting the mood. A monotone Varrone beats out what America is on his drum. As his descriptions get increasingly freaky, the laughs gets louder and longer. His deliberate tempo is like a count-down launch into the comedy blast!
The show is a sequence of skits, bits and musicality. And all these freaks are game for the rehearsed and unrehearsed. Asher, Davis, and Tran go on a triple date. Each takes turns shocking the other two about how bizarre the date got. The animated trio go big with gestures and facial expressions to zing the buffoonery. It pays off as the laughter ripples thru the stage and into the audience. I loved this ensemble’s camaraderie! Individually and collectively, the comedy delivery is in-sync. They set each other up for the joke and then giggle as a cast mate crushes it. The team spirit is palpable. This was particularly evident in the improv about a guy quitting his job at Office Max.
The combo of large thigh-slapping numbers with amusing tickling sidebars keeps the humor moving in unexpected ways. One of these smaller, quieter powerhouses is Kinney’s break-up with Waldo (Varrone). It’s is a huge crack-up. Kinney does the it’s-you-not-me lament about Waldo-esque shenanigans. In a red-striped shirt and knit hat, Varrone responds from his perch above the audience. The exchange is cleverly simplistic and simply clever. The cover-up uniforms, worn by all the freaks, make shifting from skit to skit quick and easy. The ensemble adds a shirt, zips down to bare chest or puts on a mask to heighten the funny. In one interlude, Murdoch croons to Kinney as another cast mate creeps up on her in a clown mask.
The current tumultuous political climate bubbles beneath the high-energy hi-jinx. A little jab here. A little Trump-ba-dump there. But in two shticks, the Trump-focus is in your face. The entire crew comes out dancing with paper Trump faces that have various facial expressions and hair swoops. And Davis later strums on his guitar. He is about to give good lovin’ to his date but first he needs to know her politics. His seductive serenade hilariously and abruptly stops on the mood-killer, ‘did you vote for Trump?’ Although these bits are laugh-my-ass-off funny, the regular howling from the group behind us momentarily stops during the presidential smack-downs.
DREAM FREAKS FALL FROM SPACE and onto the Mainstage at The Second City. And they are freaking hilarious!
Running Time: Two hours includes an intermission
At The Second City at 1616 N. Wells Street, Chicago.
Written and performed by Kelsey Kinney, Ryan Asher, Tyler Davis, Jeffrey Murdoch, Tien Tran, and Nate Varrone.
Directed by Ryan Bernier
Music direction by Vinnie Pillarella
Stage managed by Craig Taylor
Tuesday – Thursday @ 8:00 p.m.
Friday – Saturday @ 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. Sunday @ 7:00 p.m.
Tickets for Dream Freaks Fall From Space start at $29.00 and are available by phone at 312-337-3992 or online at www.SecondCity.com.
For more information and reviews on Chicago theatre, visit Theater in Chicago.