Archive for the tag “improv olympic”

Butt Trash

WHAT: Butt Trash
WHEN: Sundays at 8pm, March 24 – April 28
WHERE: Chemically Imbalanced Comedy (1422 W. Irving Park Rd.)
RUNTIME: 1 hour, with an approximately 5-minute intermission
WHO: Fanny and Dumpster, Chemically Imbalanced Comedy
PRICE: $10

OUR RATING: Do It!

Lakeview’s Chemically Imbalanced Comedy has a ton of shows going on right now, so Storefront City headed over to see one of their newer improv comedy shows, Butt Trash, featuring female improv comedy groups Fanny and Dumpster.

Adam: Our night began with Fanny, a group of women providing excruciatingly hilarious character acting, positively accurate group dynamics and strong comedy that seemed reminiscent of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia; I was most certainly bursting with laughter at these girls.

Made up of Blair Beeken, Claire Mulaney, Sarah Shook and Lily Sullivan, Fanny managed to take the annoyingly complicated suggestion of ‘municipal’ and turn it into a full-fledged ridiculous drama, replete with underage alcohol supply, sexual tension, eating disorders and the most broken social group I’ve seen presented on stage (and that’s a good thing).

What I like most about Fanny is their unashamed comedic antics. Leave your prudishness at home and wallow in the clever skits they produce, otherwise you’ll end up shocked and unamused. Standing out for me were performances by Claire Mulaney, who perfected the awkward overly long-dwelling on a subject that somehow makes it irresistibly funny, and Lily Sullivan, who managed to drop us right in the middle of the most timidly approachable subjects while remaining absolutely straight-faced.

Stream of consciousness and delightfully wonderful improv, Fanny are masters of their art and should be seen at all costs.

(cicomedy.com)

(cicomedy.com)

Alicia: After the briefest of intermissions came the next quartet, Dumpster, whose motto is “the Devil never closes a door without opening a dumpster.” Composed of cast members Jill Fenstermaker, Ellen Haeg, Molly Hall and Amy Speckien, the ladies in this group have credentials ranging from stints at iO Theater, The Gift Theatre, and plenty of other shows at CIC.

While not as successful as their predecessors from Fanny, Dumpster began and ended their show with a group scene, with different characters and combinations in between. The two weakest aspects of the performance was the group’s inability to stay on topic with the audience suggestion (merely using the subject to initiate the first scene, and then never referring to it again), and the constant rotation of changing characters that was hard to follow and which felt like somewhat of a letdown after Fanny’s consistent character profiles.

Yet, Dumpster’s focus on neuroses, family dynamics and a healthy variety of character acting led to fast-paced fun that definitely kept the audience at the edge of their seats wondering what might come next. With a suggestion of “toaster,” this dynamic quartet presented scenes anywhere from neurotic housewives reading romance novels and discussing their feminine problems, to an all-out family war at the dinner table sparked by a little bit of sibling rivalry. With Dumpster, you’re never sure what’s lurking around the next corner, or in the next garbage bin.

bt6

Final Thoughts: Chemically Imbalanced Comedy is producing new comedy at highly affordable prices. Easily accessible and rarely frequented, you are almost definitely guaranteed a seat and plenty of laughs at this independent and developing venue.

The Paper Machete

WHAT: The Paper Machete (Variety Show)
WHEN: Every Saturday from 3pm
WHERE: The Green Mill (4802 N. Broadway Ave.)

OUR RATING:
Do It!–Our experience
Chance It!–Possible future performances

(thepapermacheteshow.com)

(thepapermacheteshow.com)

The Paper Machete is a town crier for the modern age, providing audiences with amusing, serious and diverse entertainment covering pop culture, current events and a good dose of musical interlude. Originally launched in 2010, and created and hosted by writer Christopher Piatt, The Paper Machete tickles nearly every fancy, and allows one to experience the iconic cocktail lounge The Green Mill (of Prohibition fame) in the same manner as generations past: with a complete variety show.

Creator and Host Christopher Priatt (thepapermacheteshow.com)

Christopher Priatt (thepapermacheteshow.com)

Every Saturday afternoon at 3pm, this “live magazine” offers patrons a chance to connect with stars from the likes of iO, The Second City, the Neo-Futurists and beyond. Named best comedy variety show of 2011 by the Chicago Reader, the show encompasses an array of performances that are sure not to disappoint regulars and newcomers alike.

(greenmilljazz.com)

(greenmilljazz.com)

This past Saturday, Storefront City had a chance to visit this historic location and listen along to this rapid-fire magazine of popular thought. Our afternoon began with a rather serious interlude into environmental protection by Rachael Mason of iO. What appeared at first to be a paean for environmental action, soon showed its true colours as an amusing reflection on her childhood poetry for Earth Day, that brought up important and pertinent issues related to the recent Hurricane Sandy and its effects on her family. Masterfully blending humor and reality, Mason kept our attention and made us appreciate the awesome destructive power of nature, and man’s influence on it.

The Green Mill (courtesy of Tom Gill)

The Green Mill (courtesy of Tom Gill)

In keeping with this serious nature, Lisa Buscani of the Neo-Futurists’ investigation into the sordid world of Sandusky, from the perspective of another inmate at the same prison, provided a reflective moment to appreciate the situation of those who are behind bars and the circumstances that lead society to imprison.

Ike Holter

Ike Holter

But, let’s be honest, a magazine is never all about it’s newsworthy material, and we were treated to an inventive series of laughs as well. Ike Holter, popular playwright of Hit the Wall (first performed by The Inconvenience at Steppenwolf last year, and now moving to Off-Broadway), gave us an op-ed monologue musing on this year’s selection for the Academy Awards. Featuring quotes from “that owner of 7 Eleven who shouts at hipsters” to acceptances speeches themselves, Holter was full of ingenuity and verve.

(reformedwhores.com)

NYC’s Reformed Whores (reformedwhores.com)

And what variety show would be complete without music? We giggled with NYC musical comedy duo Reformed Whores, and swung along to the dulcet tones of Bethany Thomas (of Porgy and Bess fame), who created an atmosphere entirely appropriate to such a venerated establishment as The Green Mill.

Chad the Bird (wbez.org)

Chad the Bird (wbez.org)

A well-rounded current events publication needs a sports section, this one provided by resident puppet Chad the Bird (a Josh Zagoren creation). Staging in the venue was divided between the main stage towards the back, and the bar area, where Chad gave us his weekly sports roundup.

Matt Braunger (thepapermachete.com)

Matt Braunger (thepapermacheteshow.com)

Finally, Matt Braunger (love your website!) provided the capstone to the afternoon, also performing from the bar area. With topics covering Chicago staples such as certain kinds of people on the #22 bus, to tripped out nights dressed as clowns downtown, Braunger tapped into the audience and hit all the right notes. We highly recommend you see him if you can in the future.

Bethany Thomas (courtesy of Jeremy Rill)

Bethany Thomas (courtesy of Jeremy Rill)

Busy on Saturday afternoons? Not to worry! Every week The Paper Machete and host WBEZ create a podcast, also known as “The Paper Machete Radio Magazine,” with selections from the latest show.

The Paper Machete comes highly recommended from Storefront City. Best enjoyed with a couple of friends (the space is crowded) and a relaxed attitude, performances may vary week to week, but if the quality remains the same as last time, you will not be disappointed.

Post Navigation