Dream Freaks Fall From Space
The cast at The Second City delivers a first-rate Mainstage revue that audiences are embracing
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CAST members associated with productions at iconic The Second City are known for their quick-witted humor and have been among the best when it comes to the skill of improv. All of that continues to be evident during the impressive 106th Mainstage revue that’s being billed as Dream Freaks Fall from Space, amazingly set 80,085 years in the future.
Such a distant time period alone gives you a glimpse of the absurdity in this production––and the absurd is one of the foundations of this combination of sketches that come fast, hard, sometimes unexpected and always with varying degrees of hilarity. As would be expected during the current political climate, Donald Trump is the focus throughout much of the production, whether it’s references to “nuclear codes being in such tiny hands” to “voting for a dude who’s trying to start World War III” to each cast member parading on to the stage to the tune of Judy Collins’ “Send in the Clowns” while wearing Trump masks that exhibit various facial expressions.
The material for the show was written by the cast members, all new to Mainstage with the exception of Kelsey Kinney, a Cleveland native who was in the 105th revue, The Winner. . . of Our Discontent. She is joined by Charlottesville, Va., native Ryan Asher, whose versatility is enormous; Tyler Davis, a multitalented entertainer from Columbus, Ohio, who formerly performed with The Second City Touring Company; Jeffrey Murdoch, who grew up in the Detroit area and has performed at the Upstairs Gallery, iO, The Annoyance and was a member of The Second City Touring Company; Tien Tran, a graduate of Boston College and performer who was featured at the 2016 Second City NBCUniversal Break Out Comedy Festival and SCOUT Festival; and Nate Varrone, a highly resourceful performer who opened the show as a drummer giving himself rimshots after his own jokes.
Each cast member has several standout and memorable moments throughout the revue, highlighting skits such as the one where Kinney and Asher are accepting of the drugs meth and Oxycodone but won’t stand for the evils of marijuana; the guitar-playing and singing Davis who asks “Did You Vote for Trump?”; and Varrone’s portrayal of a bare-chested Vladimir Putin riding a broomstick horse and in another role reveals his brilliance as a time-travel assassin who drives a Dodge Caravan. But one of the major hits of the night belonged to Tran and Murdoch, who skipped through the audience to prove the theory of six degrees of separation, the idea that everyone in the
world is separated from everyone else by six links. They began by identifying audience members from Los Angeles and continued by linking persons with careers in advertising before moving on to find out about people’s favorite movie, favorite actor, identifying virgos in the audience and finally revealing dog lovers. As Tran and Murdoch worked the room, their skill at improv was evident, to the point that they told one French lady whose favorite movie is Moulin Rouge, “Let’s not make this [act] more difficult than it has to be.”
The production, which has an open run on the Mainstage, is enhanced by the direction of Ryan Bernier, directing his sixth resident show; the musical direction of Vinnie Pillarella, set designer Bob Knuth, stage manager Craig Taylor, and lighting and technical director Kyle Anderson.
Judging from the audience’s reaction, Dream Freaks Fall From Space is a humorous and illuminating crowd-pleaser––so much so that at show’s end, the question that circulated throughout the crowd was who among this strong cast will be the first one selected for a coveted spot on TV’s long-running mainstay, Saturday Night Live.
The Second City cast includes (front, left to right) Tyler Davis, Ryan Asher, Kelsey Kinney, Tien Tran (back, left to right) Jeffrey Murdoch and Nate Varrone.
In two of the many skits that comprise Dream Freaks Fall From Space, the featured actors are (above) Ryan Asher, Tyler Davis and Tien Tran. Tran (below) is joined by Jeffrey Murdoch.
Tickets for Dream Freaks Fall From Space begin at $29 and are available by phone at 312/337-3992 or online at www.SecondCity.com. The show schedule is Tuesday through Thursday, 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.; Sunday at 7 p.m. The Second City is located at 1616 N. Wells Street.