Theatre ReviewsTom Williams

Dr. Harlon’s Keys to Better Living

Written and performed by Will Clingerdrharlonlogo

Directed by Kevin Theis

Will Clinger works hard to get laughs in one man show

Veteran Chicago comic Will Clinger’s promising new one man show–Dr. Harlon’s Key to Better Living, now in an entertaining world premiere at the Royal George Theatre, is a clever, funny spoof of those late night TV self-help guru/infomercial celebrity Dr. Harlon Stewart. Will Clinger wrote and performs this ambitious one man comedy.

Will Clinger
Will Clinger

Clinger’s Dr. Harlon claims to have the answers to a better way of life if you pay attention to your image and your attitude.  Clinger deftly moves from the pompous Dr. Harlon to ten of his devotes all of which have chosen to follow his dubious advice. Smartly utilizing Mike Tutaj’s videos to transition from character to character, we meet a weird assortment of devotees.


Clinger moves swiftly in this 70 minute comedy show performed in a series of monologues as he mixes the “Keys to Better Living” of Dr. Harlon from each of ten characters. These weird folks subscribe to the image-conscious behavior espoused by Harlon. Among the characters Clinger cleverly presents are folks like  Greg Woodside–a father determined to get the perfect Christmas card photo of his infant son; Irving Cloyd, an elderly booking agent fighting obsolescence; Trey Oliver,  a socialite and international traveler who tells about drinking too much wine in Italy; Bobby Velour, a take-no-prisoners nightclub entertainer;  and Ken Liederman, a down-on-his-luck mattress salesman.

Clinger is a master performer and instinctive actor who sure knows how to set up and land a comedy bit and character sketch. He moves from an old man to a singer to a neurotic with stealth skill. Clinger  is a throw-back comedian who writes his own material. He has terrific sense of satire as he depicts flawed characters with a strong sense of  truth therefore emitting both empathy and lots of humor. Clinger’s show is funny and well performed. I’d only wish the clinger put more of an edge on some of the characters. This show is slickly produced an quite funny as Will Clinger’s talent wins us. This is a fine date show.


Tom Williams

At Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted, Chicago, IL, call 312-988-9000, tickets $20, Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 7 & 9 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, running time is 70 minutes without intermission.

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