We Gotta Bingo

Created and Produced by Bill Collinswe-gotta-bingo-7767

At the Chicago Theater Works

Interactive dinner and show thrives on bingo and ethnic humor

After a nice run in Minneapolis since 2004, it was inevitable that “We Gotta Bingo” would make it to Chicago at the new 200 seat beer hall venue between the Belmont Redline and Stage 773 and Theater Wit in the Belmont Theatre District. This is a light weight interactive affair long on energy and corn-ball ethnic humor (Italian & Irish Catholic parish Chicago). Trying to be as fun as “Tony and Tina’s Wedding” and “Shear Madness” but not as clever as “Tommy Guns Grange,” “We Gotta Bingo” is a show that plays to the basic, lowest level of interactive entertainment: bingo, polka music, Catholic parish ethnic humor, drinking ,and audience participation.  All of which I loathe. Add the metal ceiling that reverberates the sounds so that no one can possible hear their companions talk and you are in a rowdy, drink feast environment. So if you like bingo, drinking, and stereotypical humor, and you can tolerate excessive noise (they really need to add sound absorbing to the ceiling), bring a group to have fun for 2 and a half hours and “We Gotta Bingo” will be a different night out.

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I was amazed at how much the theatre oriented 20/30somthings got into the spirit of this hokey throw-back show to those horrible days when the white ethnics only had their Catholic parish bingo nights as entertainment. My family suffered from those bingo nights at St. Ferdinand parish at Belmont & Austin during the 50/60/70’s. Yet, the opening night crowd easily got into the spirit as the 14 person cast spread their infectious heart round the hall.  

From the actual bingo games, to the Italian versus Irish parish storyline, to the polka music to the dancing, the audience loved this interactive event. The producers have everything down pat as they made sure that the audiences got their $49 per person’s money worth of entertainment, including a nice Italian meal. The cast worked hard as they created an atmosphere that quickly became infectious fun.

While too hokey for my snobbery, “We Gotta Bingo” is a fun show for groups, for a girls-night out, and for seniors who crave bingo nostalgia. And, amazingly, it seems that the 20/30somthing folks easily took to the show. The power of bingo?

 Recommended for bingo fanatics!

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: August 3, 2015

For more info checkout the We Gotta Bingo page at theatreinchicago.com

At the new Chicago Theater Works, 1113 W. Belmont, Chicago, Il,  call 312-391-0404, www.wegottabingo.com, tickets $49 includes a meal and select non-alcoholic beverages, other drinks available for purchase., Fridays at 7pm, Saturdays at 8:30 pm, Sundays at 5pm, running time is 2 hours, 30 minutes, on an open run

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Chicago Theater Works

1113 W. Belmont Avenue, Chicago, IL 60657