Spotlight Press Room
Here you'll find reviews from the press on our Spotlight shows. Not every show gets reviewed, but the ones that do, we are proud of. If you have seen some of our current shows and want to review it yourself, head on over to Metromix and post a reader review, those mean a lot to us too!
Recently the Columbia Chronicle was out to see our Battle of the pHarms competition and covered all 3 of our college teams. You may read the article by clicking here for the Columbia Chronicle website.
In this pH Productions show, six actors in khakis and white-button downs sings, dance, joke, and even ninja fight their way through a dozen sketches inspired by office angst, accompanied by a work-themed pop sound track. Writer-director Marty Gangler is refreshingly committed to surprising us with seemingly spontaneous dance numbers and cast member plants in the audience. The ensemble shows off a range of voices, accents, and personalities, but Aaron Ellsworth's physical comdey shines brightest - he resembles a young Mr Roper from Three's Company and clowns like Martin Short. Still, the show's inconsistent bits and stuttering pacing mean it's not yet a well-oiled machine. - Ryan Hubbard, Chicago Reader
METROMIX/RED EYE BEST BET!
We're just one more workday away from the weekend, but the thought of office politics has us shaking in our CTA seats. Need a good laugh to get you through? pH Productions commiserates; the sketch-comedy crew's current review, "Sick/Personal Day," satirizes job interviews, lousy bosses, annoying co-workers and more.
THE DEATH SHOW WITH DEATH Its morbid title notwithstanding, this show by pH Productions can be pretty amiable. Even sweet. Prior to the performance, audience members fill out pink "death ballots" nominating someone--real or made-up--to die and have his or her life revisited improvisationally. Death himself picks the lucky Victim. Then the seven ensemble members act out moments like the Victim's first declaration of love. On the night I attended, the Victim was a gentle schlub named "Frank Dumb," Death took the form of a kindly old bus driver ("How do? I'm Death"), and the life was no more than normally egregious. Sure, when Frank proposed his beloved barfed, but she apologized. All in all, not a whole lot happened. Still, these days it's a bold choice to have a character read to kids and turn out not to be a pedophile. A two-man curtain-raiser, And We're Back, is skillful and funny. --Tony Adler, Chicago Reader
The set begins with Juke Box Heroes. Led by the very talented Robyn Scott and Jason Geis, this show takes you through the 80’s and a number of hilarious costume and character changes all while keeping you laughing and anticipating the next role switch. Seriously the crowd does not stop laughing the whole time. Then the main act, Dollprov, led by Tristan Tanner and Molly Hall launches you into another world…the playroom of two young girls. You laugh, you reminisce and the whole time you can’t wait to see what they will do and who else will pop into the playroom. I never thought watching adults, play kids could be so funny. This one brings you back to a simpler time but does not disappoint and will keep you laughing. My advice - see these shows before the run is over. And then, see more pH shows…this company is good. A hidden gem in the city. - Cindy, Metromix Review
Nine women blend raw personal monologues with quick-witted improv in this feisty, funny show. They start by introducing themselves during a modern-dance parody, dressed all in black and swirling their arms. Then they ask the audience creative questions like "What's your favorite sea creature?" and "What happens after you die?" Our answers are turned into monologues, the monologues turn into sometimes earnest, sometimes silly discussions by the troupe, and the discussions become rapid two- and three-person scenes. ¶ The scenes are often dazzling, incorporating references to politics, religion, sports, race, and the performers' own experiences. The sharpest improvisers are Robyn Scott, Jinx Holesha, and Kristine Kitts: their fierce humor teeters on the brink of offensiveness without crossing over into it. . --Jennifer Vanasco - Chicago Reader, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
The company slows the tempo on Thursday nights with Bad Advice, a modest four-member piece directed by company member Jeff Ford that intercuts scenes with monologues. Audience participation is unusually limited for a company so good at using its collective energy in larger shows. But the cast is still adept at using whatever's at hand: Tony Janning fired off the best opening line I've ever heard at an improv show, taking a dull suggestion from the audience and using it to set up a bizarre exploration of the politics of apartment living. --Nick Green, Chicago Reader