Tis the season for some improv comedy and holiday sketches from Chicago’s venerable comedy theatre. The half dozen performers currently in residence at LJP are nimble and provide an evening full of laughs.
The high wire style of improv leaves the audience and the performers equally unprepared for the twists and turns. Inevitably, a few efforts fall flat, but when the troupe is on a great riff, the results soar.
Coming from a venerable roster of veterans (ranging from the recently deceased Mike Nichols through Saturday Night Live alums John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd and Gilda Radner to current stars Mike Myers, Tina Fey, Steve Carrell, Stephen Colbert – he recently had President Obama on his show), my favorite of the current six was Nick Rees. His Iowan charm and razor reflexes are a potent mix. Also in the troupe are Christine Tawfik, Rachel LaForce, Chucho Perez, Lisa Barber and Adam Schreck.
Music direction by Nicholas Gage keeps the pace steady.
Most of the comedy is built upon clever wordplay, and there are many snippets reminiscent of the two or three line skits from “Laugh In.” One particularly clever and ultimately hilarious physical skits was a wordless interpretation of “The Nutcracker Suite.” Several office workers at invisible desks begin moving in their chairs, and soon are doing seated pirouettes and other ballet moves.
For a thoroughly enjoyable evening sprinkled with holiday themes and many laughs, this is the ticket.