June 30, 2014

Review: Second City ETC's THE APES OF WRATH

One of the great loves of my blogging life is being part of Second City's media list. It means that I often receive an invitation to a preview of an upcoming revue, and I indulge in my youthful dream of attending a revue. Recently, I had the opportunity to catch Second City ETC's latest revue, The Apes of Wrath, and needless to say....I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Apes of Wrath has a truly cosmic range of topics, ranging from "new media" to the budding love affair between the moon and a planet, as well as a doctor sharing his views on vaccination to a woman proclaiming her perfection. Many of the sketches have a slightly transgressive nature - several times during the revue, audience members gasped in surprise that the revue "went there". (Apes' willingness to ride the edge of acceptability is the revue's greatest strength). Despite any perceived transgressions, the revue never feels over-the-top, and the troupe manages to navigate a wide variety of characters and situations with a bold confidence.

Even the "audience participation" segments in Apes have an energy to them, focusing on such offbeat topics as a citizenship exam and a pair of performance artists working at a jail. The show's second half is a near-symphony of plotting, as several sketches come together and play off each other. (Steven Moffatt, when writing Doctor Who, should pay serious attention, because this is how you have subplots and incidents pay off). If Apes of Wrath proves anything, it's that the current ETC troupe's ability at improv strikes that delicate balance between spontaneity and craft.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I've never been to a bad revue at Second City. Go check out Second City ETC's The Apes of Wrath. You'll thank me later. 

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