Review: The Second City’s “We’re All In This Room Together”

July 17, 2012

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This past weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting Chicago and taking in its history, beauty, and humidity. I also got the chance to take in one of their best exports…comedy.

The Second City is a 50 year old improv and sketch comedy troupe that has been graduating some of the funniest minds in the country. Their list of alumni include the likes of Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, and Steve Carell. It’s no surprise then that I was literally falling out of my seat laughing during the show.

“We’re All In This Together” is the 36th revue by The Second City e.t.c, which is the side stage troupe at the theatre. As the comedians even mention in the opening number of the show, it is what the audience chooses to go see when the main stage sells out (which seems to be quite often). However, the quality of these comedians are still top notch and I didn’t even realize there was a main stage until after it was mentioned in the show.

I came in expecting a pure improv show, but it turns out their shows are mostly scripted except for a few parts which are improvised. However, even the scripted portions are based in improv. Part of their process in developing a show is to improvise scenes and put what works into the actual show. This provides a higher quality production as it avoids many of the dead scenes that can occur in a pure improv show.

The layout of the theatre just adds to the ambience of being “in this room together”. It is a small black box theatre reminiscent of small college productions. There are small tables every few seats to give it a cabaret feel and waiters to get you drunk before the show starts.

It’s difficult to give a full review to a show that incorporates improv as some of the best moments will change from night to night. What I can say is that the comedians were skillful enough to make me question when some scenes were improv and when they were scripted. They hit all the right notes in keeping me laughing and there was only one scene that I considered dead (mostly because I didn’t get the reference). I highly recommend checking out The Second City if you are ever in Chicago as it is an affordable way to experience Chicago theatre and have a good time.

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