I have to admit that my initial reaction is that South Side of Heaven is a little disturbing...but the good kind of disturbing.
In terms of structure and content, this is a revue that pushes at boundaries and handles some really complicated, uncomfortable issues - around race, sex, and the ultimate boundary: Cubs vs. Sox. But it's also one of the more intellectually challenging revues as well, since one or two of the sketches involve a little bit more thought in terms of how they proceed. (One actually seemed like it was a dream sequence towards the end).
In short, this is actually one of the more enjoyable revues that Second City has put on - it shows that there's a real willingness to improvise even within its own sketch form. And quite frankly, it's a show that is a little unsettling, but mostly in its striving to remain inventive and daring. And that's quite frankly what makes it thoroughly enjoyable. What appears to be a pre-show interview during a tech glitch, for example, turns into a key audience participation moment in the middle of a sketch. This revue's set of players - Edgar Blackmon, Tim Robinson, Holly Laurent, Katie Rich, Timothy Edward Mason, and Sam Richardson - are like the Bulls in their 1990s prime: a team that plays well, but more importantly - plays well together.
What's also great are some of the lines that come from the performer's mouths. There's a palpable sense of joy in saying things which should not be said. (There's even one sketch that involves Tim Robinson doing unspeakable things to a Chipotle burrito, and which needs to be seen to be believed). Some other lines which I hastily scribbled into my Picadilly notebook:
- The '90s aren't vintage - they're just gross
- I teach mandolin on YouTube
- ...at the truck stop giving handies and mouthies
- Benzos - thumbs up!
- I don't like that a word of theirs is a word only half of us can say....
- Normally we kill our animals at the Lincoln Park Zoo
Make time for this one. Definitely worth it.
(And the biggest surprise to me came earlier in the night - I ended up at their etc theater by mistake, and noticed some familiar words at their door. Probably the greatest "thank you" gift I've ever received)