REVIEW: My Chicago Valentine @ The Public House Theatre

A Chicago Rom-Com.

My Chicago Valentine_LAFSMy Chicago Valentine” is the theatrical comparison to a live rom-com. That’s right folks, if you want to see a cute, funny comedy that won’t make you think too hard but leave your face hurting from laughter, this is the show for you.

My Chicago Valentine” is playing at The Public House Theatre and is created by the same group who put up “The Chicago Dating Scene.” One of my favorite things about this group is that they aren’t afraid to get personal. Following a similar form as their last show, they intertwined personal monologues from each cast member in between their sketches. It’s one thing to write a character monologue, but to get up in front of a room of strangers and openly confess, in detail, the numerous times you were wronged by love, role-played for a cougar or peed yourself in front of a crush immediately garners a certain level of respect and well-earned empathy.

The show opens with a young lady looking for reasons to love living in Chicago, commenting that “this city could not be a bigger cock block.” She is met by her Chicagoan mentor who takes her on a journey along the tails and trails of love throughout Chicago. As we travel through this love affair, we witness improvised wedding vows, a White Sox versus Cubs fueled “Bromeo” and Juliet forbidden love, a futuristic sexual purge, original love songs, the NBA Kiss Cam, an alpha-female race and a classic case of a guy’s fear of the “L” word. My favorite bit was “Bitsy and Pam Help You Find A Man,” where Sara Gaare and Nicole Carter, dressed up as old ladies, engaged the audience and gave out free dating tips. It was priceless.

If I could make a few changes, I would cut a couple scenes, nix the intermission and make the show an hour instead of an hour and a half. The scenes that wouldn’t have made my cut would be the scene with Andy Bolduc as a giant elf-like poet whispering sweet words of romance into Case Blackwell’s ear, Anthony Lombard and Cassie Ahiers as violent Batman and Catwoman lovers and the “lady cops scene” where Gaare and Carter interrogate a female-prone cannibal. Men eating women just didn’t sit too well with me. However, the line “we’ll break him like an equestrian’s hymen” sure did. The only other scene I probably would have cut was the scene about Ahiers and Bolduc getting busy while her parents are away. Now don’t get me wrong, this is a great scene filled with the most disgusting and hilarious details, but it was included in their last show. It’s a first-class, grade-A scene, so I understand why it was kept, but since I’d already seen it, it felt a little recycled. But hey, if you didn’t get to see their last show, then you’re in for a treat.

This whole show was a lot of fun. It’s evident a great deal of time, planning and revised material was put forth for this production and it shows in the final product. One of the greatest surprises for me was the vocal talent of Anthony Lombard and Andy Bolduc. These gentlemen can sing. When you hear people who can really sing in comedy, it just brings the show to an entirely different level, in my opinion. Singing aside, Bolduc really hit his stride in this show. This was the best work I’ve seen from him yet. I felt that he was given the opportunity to step outside his comfort zone, which is only a positive reflection of the group as a whole. Between convincing character work, his voice and an incredibly vulnerable monologue in desperate plea for a girlfriend, Bolduc was irresistibly charming and a true pleasure to watch.

As all encounters with love teach us lessons, here are the lessons I learned from “My Chicago Valentine.

  • Come ready to participate.
  • If you sit in the front row, don’t bring your Louis Vuitton.
  • In the words of Nicole Carter, “Love really is those things you do everyday.”
  • If you come with a date, make it very known if you smooch or don’t smooch.
  • Help the ladies if they ask you.
  • Saying “I love you” is hard.
  • Andy Bolduc is super single and speaks French. Ladies, hit that up.
  • This is a great date show and you should go see it.

My Chicago Valentine” is playing at The Public House Theatre Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm until Saturday, February 15th. Tickets are $15 and you can buy them here.

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posted on by Kiley Peters posted in Chatter, Reviews

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