Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
The Second City's America All Better!!
The premise behind the title is that the re-election of Barack Obama, along with the growing acceptance of same-sex marriage and the improving economy, are all signs that the nation is recovering from the social and political frustrations of 2012. Director Ryan Bernier and his six cast members certainly have fun with the current political climate (one bit dramatizes the connection between money and influence in an easily comprehensible way), but the performance is less a polemic and more about everyday eventsa blind date, a high school reunion, a romantic evening at hometaken to a ludicrous extreme.
The skilled cast membersAaron Bliden, Martin Garcia, Sayjal Joshi, Scott Morehead, Niccole Thurman, and Claudia Michelle Wallaceare seemingly in constant motion throughout the show, which runs about two hours including intermission. They do sketch comedy, sing, contort themselves (sometimes literally climbing the walls), and solicit suggestions from the audience.
Some of the skits seem to be evergreens: the look at an "average American family" at different points in the past century, for example, and a meet-the-boyfriend's-parents sketch that suggests that gay couples can be just as boring as straight ones. On the other hand, sometimes the characters become self-referential (one performer refuses to leave the stage because he doesn't want the scene to end) and sometimes it's just silly fun (the cast singing about the menace lurking behind a cute façade). In addition, Jesus reveals his middle name to a joint session of Congress.
Maybe it isn't profound, but it's beautifully done and enormous fun. People sitting in the front rows should be careful, though: they might be "invited" onto the stage and expected to join in the improvisation.
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company