The arrival of a chilly January can be rather sobering, but if you’re still hoping for some onstage laughter, the Cincinnati Playhouse is still presenting shenanigans by Second City, Chicago’s legendary skit and improv troupe, in the form of its satire of all things Queen City. It’s subtitled “Pride and Porkopolis,” just to give you some sense of the kind of topical humor to expect. About a third of the material is funny but generic, while other parts are wholly improvised, including musical numbers created with amazing speed using a few cues from theatergoers.
The juiciest bits that are tickling Cincinnatians are things like a public forum about streetcars that becomes a cacophony of stereotypical racist and socioeconomic perspectives from Indian Hill to Over-the-Rhine. (I suspect the recent endless debate over the city’s budget has shown up by now, too, since the performers keep the material very up-to-the-minute.) There’s a song about the dominance of Procter & Gamble and another about Pete Rose, “a local boy done good gone bad.” The mercurial ensemble of six plays dozens of familiar characters such as Jerry Springer and Marge Schott, as well as Sheriff Simon Leis and Mayor Mark Mallory.
The show has sold so well that it’s been extended through Jan. 16.