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The Second City: Miracle on 1280 Peachtree Street

a Comedy Improv Show
CATEGORY :
by The Second City

COMPANY : Alliance Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Hertz Stage [WEBSITE]
ID# 3879

SHOWING : November 05, 2010 - December 12, 2010

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Santa’s left something in your stocking, Atlanta. And it’s not another crushed beer can from the Clermont Lounge, Grandma Irene’s fruitcake, or sausage balls from last year’s Pink Pig. It’s The Second City’s third all-new installment of belly laughs and sketch comedy, here to remind you why you’re lucky to spend the holidays in Atlanta – because after December 25th, Santa’s Elves sure do get rowdy at the Chik-fil-A Dwarf House.

The Second City remains one of America’s most hip and venerable names in sketch comedy, birthplace of comic geniuses from Gilda Radner and John Belushi to Tina Fey and Steve Carell.


CAST & CREW LIST
Crew Katie Halick
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REVIEWS

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Sketchy Beginnings
by Dedalus
Friday, November 19, 2010
NR
Since this performance of Second City’s third foray into the Atlanta ethos was its first preview, the odds of the show being the same on opening night are sketchy at best. For that reason, “rating” the show is premature, and perhaps, not a little unfair.

That being said, nothing (apparently) can stop me from at least writing about it.

For those whose area of interest is not the field of comedy, Second City is the over-50-year-old Chicago-based Improv-and-Sketch troupe that proved to be the starting stop for some of the country’s brightest comedy stars (John Candy, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, Amy Sedaris, Martin Short, and virtually every SNL star since its beginnings). For the past two years, Second City has come to the Alliance to focus its often-sharp skewering on Atlanta celebrities and memes, and to bring some Atlanta-based improv artists into its fold.

As a matter of record, I was a bit chilly to its first offering (“Too Busy to Hate, Too Hate to Commute”) and a lot warmer to its 2009 “Peach Drop Stop and Roll.” Through the years, their Atlanta-themed sketches have grown more affectionate and gone a bit deeper than the Google-search obviousness of the first foray.

The most obvious thing I can say about the first preview of their newest endeavor is that, mmm, well, it needs a bit more work (which, hopefully, it’ll get before its “official” opening). Too many of the sketches were more clever than funny, too many of the short black-outs built to over-obvious punch-lines, and too much of it zoomed by without an inch of traction. For the record, I can’t recall a single sketch from Act Two, let alone any memorable punch lines.

Starting off on a high note, this version gave the expected Atlanta traffic skewering by giving us rush-hour-jam sounds which gradually morphed into car horns playing “Silent Night.” An opening number then set the stage (so to speak) for what promised to be a lively evening of improv and comedy. The first sign of trouble was an improv sketch that asked for “things usually not found around the house” and “things found around the house that you wish would just go away.” Unfortunately, the scene these fed was a lame Christmas party that seemed to paste the suggested items on as an afterthought.

Other sketches dealt with a “T.I. Suicide-intervention” theme that was funny, I suppose, “Great Moments in the career of Sonny Perdue” which were obvious and not funny, and a lame private eye sketch that used an audience member as a dull foil.

As part of the preview, there was also a “Third Act” of sketches being worked on for possible inclusion in the show. I have to admit, I didn’t like ANY of them – the punch lines didn’t work, and the set-ups were too long. One, in particular, involved a rapturous participant in a mega-church revival. The idea was funny, I suppose, but to watch her “come on down” through three separate blackouts was just too much wasted time for a too-weak joke we saw coming almost immediately. This act, though, did include a Glenn Beck / Martin Luther King Jr duet that has potential, and I would recommend its inclusion if its pace and focus could be tightened a bit.

So, if last year’s experience is any indication (I saw a performance near the end of the run), I fully expect this show to come together and provide the sort of fast-paced evening we expect from the Second City. Part of the preview process should be to weed out stuff that doesn’t work and tighten stuff that’s “almost there.” My crazy schedule got me into this first preview, which, as expected, had far more misses than hits. I’ll try to get to another later in the run, just to see how far the show has come. However, at this point, I can make no promises.

All I can say for now is that there was enough to keep the audience happy, and, if this is the sort of show you like, you’ll like it better as the run continues.

For now, though, the show is just the weensiest bit flat and sketchy.

-- Brad Rudy (BKRudy@aol.com)



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