Chicago Theatre Review
We Gotta Bingo – Chicago Theater Works
For an evening of fun and laugh out loud entertainment We Gotta Bingo is a good choice. This interactive (in the vein of “Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding”) show uses the audience members as participants in a faux church fundraiser to raise money to combine two parishes and save the church. The entertainment includes a 3 piece band featuring accordion, guitar and drums who can play anything from Blondie to OutKast’s “Shake it like a Polaroid Picture” – which they do to marvelous comic effect near the end of the show.
The evening combines a running show of funny (ok some are pretty corny jokes) routines, and songs intermittently interrupted by audience-participation bingo and a tasty – though very casual- lasagna dinner courtesy of Giordanos.
What makes the show work is the authenticity of its characters and the self-deprecating nature of most of their performances. Although I’m sure the show would play well in many cities, they play it with true Chicago grit and accent. Corny jokes, routines and musical performances abound but the crowd seemed to love it. Even if you don’t care for Bingo (and it seems like a lot of audience members really, really like it) – complete with“bingo bottles”, this is a fun evening with some really good performances.
Standouts include Merrick Robinson who plays the evening’s emcee with wit and terrific comedic timing, wearing a truly epic purple suit. Tamara White shows – with her one short vocal solo – that she has a voice you will want to hear more of and hopefully will in the future.
Because this is an audience-interactive performance, a certain amount of improvisation is required from the cast and they are equal to the task. This is a group effort with a strong cast all deserving of mention. They are: Jane Allyson-D’Arienzo, Mitch Conti, Jerome R. Marzullo, Riley McIlveen, Sheila O’Connor, Jennifer Pompa, Mollie Rehner, Ty Rood, Jessica Scott, Gary Smiley, Michael Tatar, Tamara White and Susan Wingerter.
High-brow entertainment it is not, but director Ross Young has delivered a fun and entertaining evening that you won’t want to miss.
Reviewed by Rebecca Abisdris
August 3-open run
Chicago Theater Works
1113 West Belmont Chicago
For information on this and other shows visit www.theatreinchicago.com