Review: Nutty Second City Revue Oh, the Places You’ll Glow! Gets Laughs With a Bright Cast

Six performers rock a couple dozen skits at Second City’s e.t.c.

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Leila Gorstein and Tim Metzler in Oh, the Places You’ll Glow! at Second City e.t.c.
(© Timothy M. Schmidt)

It’s probably intentional that the new revue at Second City’s e.t.c. Theater sounds a little like a children’s book (think Dr. Seuss), but Oh, the Places You’ll Glow! is in no way kid-friendly, unless you count the multicolored light sabers that the cast enters with at the top, illuminating the darkness as we sip our cocktails. It’s playful and nonsensical and has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the show.

That’s part of the charm of this kooky mélange of skits and improv performed by a terrific cast of six comedians. Over the course of the show we meet Mrs. Satan (Brittani Yawn), the one who’s really in charge of hell, and a maniacal, murderous Shirley Temple-like character (Claudia Martinez) who absolutely must have a “pinky-nail” of coke before going on. With so many skits packed into two full hours, it’s remarkable how many of them land, at least on some level. (Understudy Aram Rayzian did a bang-up job on the night I attended.)

It’s not that the cast delivers especially edgy comedy, but the skits usually take unexpected turns that ramp up the joke. We get one about a mother and daughter shopping in T.J. Maxx and poking fun at their bodies (Meghan Babbe and Leila Gorstein are paired to perfection here). Then there are other short yet highly effective gags, like the one comparing violence in Chicago and Florida. Martinez and Babbe do some crowd work as Italian mobsters from Chicago who go through the audience taking jabs at everyone’s hometown. New York, of course, gets skewered.

The show largely avoids politics, though one of the funnier skits involves a guy (a hilarious Tim Metzler) who wants to sleep with a woman (Gorstein, the show’s standout) who loves Donald Trump and R. Kelly. While there are no real knee-slappers to be had, director Jeff Griggs has paced things so that there are at least very few pauses between the laughs and smiles. Even when a few of the later scenes produce some groaners, Oh, the Places You’ll Glow! is consistently entertaining, light sabers and all. As date-night shows go, it should have a spot at the top of your list.

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Oh, the Places You’ll Glow

Final performance: August 25, 2024