Review: Lower Wacker Book Club Does Improv With the Right Amount of Controlled Chaos

Before I start my review, I just want to make something clear: unlike most reviews, I wasn’t there because the venue or the performance group offered me a comp ticket to review this show. I just happened to be there with some friends, and had such a good time that I asked the performers if they’d like some coverage.

Improv is a tricky thing to get right. I’ve started thinking of it as the logical conclusion of riffing with your friends, building upon a joke until it becomes a hilarious, unwieldy beast that eventually falls apart in a beautiful disaster. Now imagine you’re also acting in front of a live audience; I don’t know about you, but my ability to be funny and spontaneous takes a nose-dive when people are expecting me to be funny, rather than having it be a happy accident.

From Left: Shawna Seals, Blake Hood, Erica Seff, and Erin Ryan

Thankfully that wasn’t an issue for Lower Wacker Book Club, who I had the pleasure of seeing at Logan Square Improv. Comprising Erin Ryan, Blake Hood, Shawna Seals, Erica Seff, Adam Rozak, and James Alcock (the last two members could not attend the show), they knocked it out of the park, at least based on the cackling from me and my friends. The chemistry on stage was palpable, best exemplified by how well they reacted to and fed off each other’s responses and energy; I think one of the best examples of this was a sketch where Blake was trying to get a word in during a during a conversation and Shawna just kept shutting him down, while simultaneously getting even more heated over the topic at hand after each interruption. There was a wonderful sense of controlled chaos on stage, as you can probably tell from the image above. It started a little slow, but really that’s just inherent to improv: you have to take a little time seeing the direction the other members of the group are trying to go in or else it gets disjointed and chaotic in the wrong way. 

I had a great time seeing Lower Wacker Book Club perform, and if you get a chance, I’d highly recommend giving them a chance, I think you’ll have a great time. I’ve included a link to their Instagram, where they regularly post about upcoming shows. @lowerwackerbookclub

Logan Square Improv, 2825 W. Diversey Ave., offers improv shows Wednesday-Sunday. See their website for show info and videos.

Did you enjoy this post and our coverage of Chicago’s arts scene and sometimes beyond? Please consider supporting Third Coast Review’s arts and culture coverage by making a donation by PayPal. Choose the amount that works best for you, and know how much we appreciate your support!

James Brod
James Brod

James Brod recently graduated from Dominican University, with a degree in political science. Ironically, he had previously considered majoring in journalism, but didn’t want to write for a living. Funny how things turn out, isn’t it? You can find him wandering the northwest suburbs, or on Twitter at @JamesBrod12.

Plan Your Life with 3CR Highlights

Join Our Newsletter today!