Theater, Dance, Comedy and Performance in Chicago

Review: Two Brazen Broads/Apollo Theater

Comedy, Improv/Sketch Reviews, Improv/Sketch/Revues Add comments

Here’s an odd pairing. The double bill Tuesday nights at the Apollo Studio features Rachel Lewis’ one-woman show (a character-driven piece called “One Less, Perhaps”) and Kate Duffy’s improv set (“The Sleepy Horror Story,” performed by Duffy and a rotating group of improvisers each week). Umbrella title notwithstanding, nothing links these two shows, thematically or stylistically, which gives the evening an awkward spin. Despite evidence of genuine talent, Lewis presents a jumbled collection of moments and characters that fail to build to anything larger. The show lacks a consistent universe; Lewis breaks the fourth wall mid-way through to reveal her biography. It comes out of nowhere, and doesn’t fit with the earlier material. Directed by Colleen Murray, the show is saddled with terrible pacing—the momentum sags every time she steps behind the curtain for a minimal costume change. That being said, Lewis has a real knack for characters—she’s very good at capturing the tics and semi-tacky personalities of her Jewish relatives—and as a performer, she is hugely likable. The girl is cute, and she uses this for all it’s worth. Kate Duffy’s effort also suffers from a lack of clarity, but as straight-up improv it works. I’m not sure what any of the scenes had to do with “Sleepy Horror” (whatever that is), but Duffy and pals are seasoned enough to find the funny. No shame in that. (Nina Metz)

At the Apollo Studio Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln, (773)935-6100. This production is now closed.

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