‘Messing with a friend’ Shows Our Reality Through The Comedic Eye of Improv.



Susan Messing and Charles Pettit performing as roommates talking about “The Bachelorette” (Photo by Jeramie Bizzle)  

You walk into the Annoyance Theatre and think it’s just another social bar, but as you come up the stairs you are presented with numerous photos of past productions featuring improv artist from all over the city, including actors from Second City.  Upon sitting down, all you can hear is a man who admits to covering his poop with baby powder as it’s similar to putting sawdust on puke to clean himself. The humor in the comedy “Messing With A Friend” comes from the kind of people either we know or have met as the material had to come from someone’s personal experience.


Each week, Susan Messing invites a different actor to join her on stage to perform different scenes based on audience suggestions. Messing and this week’s guest improv actor Charles Pettit quickly transitioned between scenes of teachers discussing going on strike, to fighting with one another about going to Marshalls instead of watching “The Bachelorette”. The pair performed about 6-8 different scenes without skipping a beat. Somehow the scene that sticks in the mind is the poop and baby powder bit as they actors found a way to work that line into two other scenes they’ve performed, which didn’t make sense because they were in a portraying different characters, but circling back to a joke that had the most laughs is a safe way to keep a scene from going dull.

Not most shows continue a transition from one scene to the next without a brief intermission, but the performers kept it moving and didn’t lose anyone during character changing. The material used on stage made it easier to connect with as we all know that one person who either shops at Marshalls or is still attached to love driven reality shows.

Since the show is based on the audience suggestions,  the actors dedicate the whole show to the situations they’re given, no different from any other improv show in the city. It’s hard to say what sets this show apart from others, but the show is good for first timers who’ve never gone to an improv show.

Although the show was filled with a bunch of zingers and one-liners, it makes for a good evening out during the workday, and there will be a slim possibility through audience participation you will see the same show twice.


“Messing With A Friend” – 2 Stars

When: Every Thursday at 10:30 pm

Where: Annoyance Theatre, 851 W Belmont

Running Time: 1 hr

Tickets: $5 at  theannoyance.com


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