In the mood for the boy-band harmonies of drunken British lads on a sun-soaked Spanish vacation? I wasn’t either. But I was pleasantly surprised by Dougal Irvine’s ambitious “Departure Lounge”; it’s a confection with a bittersweet center.
Ringleader JB (Dan Beno) kills time in a departure lounge with his mates: acidic Pete (Jay W. Cullen), nebbishy Ross (Erik Kaiko) and ”ladies’ man” Jordan (Devin Archer). They sort out their drunken vacation-week memories of Australian hottie Sophie (Andrea Larson) before heading back to their uncertain academic futures and shaky relationships with one another.
The ensemble nails the singing and director Tom Mullen’s bright, hip choreography; they also handle the guys’ ties and personal conflicts with aplomb. Each performer takes his spotlight number and runs with it; Larson holds her own in this sea of testosterone. The accents are hit and miss, but that’s nitpicking; the show’s a high-flier. (Lisa Buscani)
Bailiwick Chicago at The Royal George Theatre, 1641 North Halsted, (312)988-9000. Through December 12.