The flaws of the Second City sketch formula are exposed for the dated and predictable limitations that they are in the e.t.c.’s 27th revue, “From Fear to Eternity”—or, as it felt at a recent performance, “From Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.” Under the direction of Sue Gillan, the cast (a mix of newcomers and vets who also write the show) is genuinely likable, but their choice of material is numbingly average and entirely without spark. The end result is a whole lotta bleh, with a side order of blah. Business travelers share a hotel room and bond over “Beaches;” fighter pilots in Ray-Bans riff on cocky, “Top Gun”-style clichés; a retarded party guest calls someone a faggot. With the exception of Ithamar Enriquez, who ladles out a helping or two of Latino-flavored humor, the group is overwhelmingly white (as was the case last time out), a reality addressed somewhat apologetically with the refrain, “I just wish we had a black guy in here.” Don’t we all. The show’s one strong gag is Enriquez’s wordless magician bit, which he plays with just the right amount of over-the-top David Copperfield faux intensity. But the larger question remains: What’s holding this ensemble back? (Nina Metz)
This production is now closed.