Playwright: Jason Lord and amber Rae Schafer at: Backe Productions, The Cornservatory, 4210 n. lincoln Phone: 312-409-6435; $12 Runs through: Sept. 12 ( Fridays only )
Sing D*amm!t ( sic ) is a sketch comedy show composed of songs and dances rather than dialogue scenes. Sarah Nelson's choreography is a good cut above usual sketch comedy capabilities, and Jason Lord's clever and amusing numbers make palatable otherwise gross-out humor such as menstruation and necrophilia. You need not rush to Lincoln Avenue just to see this show—it isn't quite as clever or freshly innovative as that—but, at just one hour long, it's a pleasant diversion before or after a Friday visit to one of the many North Center and Lincoln Square restaurants or drinking parlors.
Accompanied by keyboard, drums and parttime guitar and accordion, the six cast members move swiftly through nine unrelated songs and two dance numbers. Other than the musical thread, this isn't a thematic show. A sexobsessed opening trio sings 'Before the evening is over, someone will be naked,' which is a tease more than a promise. The second number is a political ditty that aptly declares America will ignore real issues as long as we have bread and circuses ( 'A little talk radio/Will insure the status quo' ) . The first dance number is next, a boyon- boy apache tango over a slice of pizza. Like the condemned Super Bowl Snickers commercial, one anticipates an ending lip-lock, but it doesn't happen. Then, a pair of late-1950s-style songs is decently performed but too reminiscent of Grease to be fresh. The punk-girl trio that follows—about having breasts—is better.
At this halfway point, the show picks up steam beginning with a pseudo-love ballad during which an in-heat boy and girl lament that 'Menstruation ... is a lovely aggravation ... It's a nosebleed in Australia, a steak that's eaten raw ...'—gross-out words delivered in 'Three Coins in the Fountain' style. The next number—about love grown cold and hateful—isn't original, but makes its point about why couples stay together. Next, Sing D*amm!t moves into a C&W tune about a necrophiliac cowboy that's sure to put a grin on your face. Hey, if love starts out cold, it can't turn hateful! A dance-off follows between hip-hop kids and the ballet crowd, predictably ending in a merger in Hair Spray fashion. The show concludes with a gospel number celebrating the culture of the CTA through a familiar experience: 'The creepy guy finally got off the bus! Hallelujah and bless my soul!'
The three-women, three-men cast is solid under director Katie Hawkey. Several have good dancing chops, although not all are particularly good singers. The program doesn't specify who's performing what so praise/blame is difficult to assign. The show grows stronger in its second half-hour with several scenes worthy of The Second City.