Even if you don’t like the show—and I didn’t—you have to appreciate the premise of Factory Theater’s latest offering. Blessedly local and in-jokey, the story pits the nerds of Chicago media (Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert) versus the douchebags (Oprah, Richard Roeper and Mancow) in a fight for world domination. In this alternate universe, where Siskel is alive and Ebert is in fine health, the duo (played by Scott Pasko and Chas Vrba) join forces with Da Mare to stop Oprah and her army of soccer-moms. The script (directed by Scott OKen) doesn’t exactly make sense, but I don’t know if that’s even the point. Anyone who blatantly trashes self-important types is fine in my book; even morning radio’s most annoying duo, barely celebs Eric and Kathy, get slammed. But playwright Eric Thomas Roach doesn’t go far enough with his jabs. (Although there is a very funny scene of screaming diva worship at an Oprah taping that isn’t far from the truth.) With the exception of Paul Metreyeon’s smirking Roeper, what is missing are genuine impersonations. Or, pointedly satiric impersonations. Instead, what we get are sketchily drawn characters, and that isn’t quite enough. (Nina Metz)
This production is now closed.