"Black and Blue" ***
It's no coincidence that so many of the comedies created by the Factory Theater take place in a barroom setting. This motley group of writer-performers have a keen appreciation for tavern culture and alcohol-soaked camaraderie, and when they play it relatively straight — as they do here — the result is a familiar yet entirely welcome variation on a formula perfected by "Cheers," whereby two brothers (Anthony Tournis and Greg Caldwell, who legitimately look and sound like siblings) convene at the bar run by their old man to watch Chicago's baseball teams duke it out on TV.
One brother is a
There is, naturally, the requisite dressing down of each team and the fans — arialike zingers that hit their targets in equal measure without getting personal. That's worth noting. A Chicago play through-and-through (director Nick Digilio and Tournis are co-writers), the narrative needs more momentum and focus but it is anchored by a Midwestern decency that I found hugely affecting.
That's a departure from Factory's typically gag-heavy aesthetic, and I can't help but wish the company would go in this direction more often, especially when you see what this ensemble is capable of, acting-wise.
Pop (Brian Amidei) is
Through Sept. 3 at Prop Thtr, 3502 N. Elston Ave.; tickets are $15-$20 at 866-811-4111 or thefactorytheater.com
"Put My __ In Your __" **
Warhol's Factory (not to be confused with the theater company referenced in the review above) was as distinctive an ecosystem as any, but what writer-director
Through Aug. 27 at Zoo Studio, 4001 N. Ravenswood Ave., suite B-1; tickets are $20 at 866-593-4614 or firstname.lastname@example.org