Sheila’s Sister and Her Musical Cousins is a four-person improvised comedy show produced by the Chicago-based Sheila Theatre Group and is being shown at venue 53: theSpace @ Surgeons Hall.
The premise of this comedy production is that the two improv performers (Dana and Edmund O’Brien) put together a series of scenes based on the background music spontaneously produced by the two musical cousins – Spencer O’Brien and Dan Glickman. I was lucky enough to catch a show which also included the immensely talented Bronwyn Claire Asha as a guest musician. The musicians create their songs based on prompts provided by the audience, and as a result every show is completely unique.
I can best describe Sheila’s Sister and Her Musical Cousins as being a very clever idea brought to life by two very quick-witted improv performers. The O’Brien duo work well together, both able to think swiftly of where they want each scene to go. A couple of the scenes that I got to see were very heavy on the physical comedy – a dramatic chase scene in slow motion, for example – which I felt both performers excelled at.
In the initial scenes, the dialogue came across a little stilted and there were some points where it was evident that the two performers had differing views on where they wanted to take the acting. Though these gaps in communication between the actors were overcome quickly and covered up with one-line quips that had the whole audience laughing.
Overall, Sheila’s Sister and Her Musical Cousins is a highly enjoyable show and is one that I would go and see again if only to see how different it would be based on the audience’s prompts. It is a unique premise which is executed well, and a show I found entertaining and easy to watch. For anyone with a free hour in the evening, it is certainly worth checking out.