Written and Performed by Lisa Beasley, Aasia LaShay Bullock,
Peter Kim, Katie Klein, Julie Marchiano, Scott Morehead
Directed by Matt Hovde
Musical Direction/Original Music/Sound Design by Jesse Case
At The Second City e.t.c., Chicago
Running Express to Entertain
If you’re looking for an entertaining show where you can eat, drink, and laugh all at the same time, then Second City e.t.c.’s 40th Revue A Red Line Runs Through It is where you should be tonight. Written and performed by some of Second City’s best, this nearly two-hour show gambols pell-mell through skits, songs, and dances that never failed to amuse with their at-times outrageous and absurd but always skillfully diverse display of comedy.
A Red Line Runs Through It features a lot of lighting and music that, far from merely complementing the skits and atmosphere, are integral to the show as a whole. For instance, the show opens with the cast riding an El-train, bored and impatient at a delay; then, inexplicably, the emergency lights go out and a black light comes on to reveal the entire cast wearing Guy Fawkes’ masks (also inexplicably) and eerily dancing. Absurd? Yes. Amusing? Inexplicably so. Some of the best skits also involve singing, such as a political rap battle, an ironic love song to Rahm Emmanuel, and an improvised song based upon an audience call-out (in this case, crazy drivers), among several others.
Besides this noteworthy inclusion of music (compliments to Jesse Case), the show features some strong collaborative moments among the cast as well as some in which individual members are allowed to shine. We see Peter Kim coach his very white friend Scott Morehead on the how-to of drag; Lisa Beasley and Aasia Lashay Bullock blithely perform some everyday “black-girl magic”; Julie Marchiano plays a humorless fitness/life guru whose existential exercises lead Beasley to commit murder; Katie Klein exposes the seedy past of the Frank Lloyd Wright Estate amidst the mundane backdrop of an architectural tour; and, at one point, the whole cast delivers different iterations of the opening segment to the 11 p.m. news, varying their approaches depending on the city.
Reviewed on 29 April 2016.
Playing at The Second City e.t.c. Theatre, 230 W North Ave., 2nd Floor, Chicago. Tickets start at $23. For tickets and information, call the Second City at 312-664-4032, or visit www.SecondCity.com. Performances are Thursdays at 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and118 p.m., and Sundays at 7 p.m. Running time is 100 minutes with one intermission.