29 December 2005

Theater Thursday at Improv Kitchen

Theater Thursday is a project of the League of Chicago Theatres. Every week (on Thursday!) the League promotes a particular theater by sponsoring free appetizers and (usually) an opportunity to meet the performers after the show.

So far we’ve been to two of these events. A few months ago we saw Copenhagen at the Timeline Theater, near us on Wellington off N. Broadway; we thought the play was good, but the performance didn’t impress us so much. Tonight we checked out Improv Kitchen, which is also in our neighborhood, but north, on Clark.

Improv Kitchen is an interesting concept. It’s sort of like dinner theater, but it’s improv and it’s TV. That is, you sit at a table with a big video screen on which you watch the performance. And, periodically, the performers watch (and listen) to you, as when they do the standard improv “Give me a location” type of thing.

It was a nice evening, and I certainly laughed at some bits, but though we’ve enjoyed episodes of Whose Line Is It Anyway? I don’t think we’re the target audience anymore for improv. We tend to look for more polish, which is probably beside the point for this kind of entertainment. We're expecting theater but getting something closer to standup, and requiring more goodwill (or lubrication).

The food was OK, not great. Decent green salad, crab cakes a bit bland (but nice remoulade), tasty veggie rolls (vegetables in phyllo over mushroom sauce—this was our favorite), the fish in the fish tacos a little dry, the “homemade” sorbet a little off in both texture and taste.

OK, so the food wasn’t that good. I wanted to like this place more than I did. Still, worth checking out at only $10 for the show.

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