“It’s Not You, It’s Me – The Second City” – Phoenix Theatre

Theater Review – January 6, 2019


Hormel Theatre, Phoenix Theatre
Phoenix, AZ

For the first time in its almost 100 year history, Phoenix Theatre is presenting an imported rather than a locally produced show.  The result, Chicago’s Second City’s hilarious “It’s Not You, It’s Me,” is a fanciful laugh fest that dissects contemporary relationships with a splash of current events.  The show pokes fun at the weird things that happen between people including some artful digs at current politics and how world issues are approached.  The mocking jabs poke irreverence, a Second City trademark, that includes nonsense that turn common American lifestyle clichés hilarious.

The show runs a tight two hours and is just the right length.  If parodying contemporary unions was stretched any farther, the piece and its wily humor would lose its zinging finesse and wild hilarity.

Not only is the writing and the parodies it finds on target but the writer-performers are comic experts with remarkable comic timing.  The company includes six comic actors who work well together but also hit the mark individually and in smaller ensembles.  To reveal more details of the show’s content would ruin it for audiences.

Jorge Emanuel Berrios explodes all over the stage with bizarre physical antics that he uses to highlight his deft comic delivery.  Amanda Blake Davis milks intimate moments within romantic pairings as she quietly but hilariously presents frenzied reserve in her approach to romantic situations.  Julie Marchiano becomes a conventional partner but makes tired-and-true moments we’ve experienced into silly but enjoyable stupidity.  Charles Pettitt uses perplexities to create unknown mockery that makes his stellar moments sparkle with delicious abandon.  Tim Stoltenberg plays conventionality with an enchanting devilishness and he uses a marvelous glint in his expressive eyes to cause wild laughter in the simplest situation.  Jacklyn Uweh sashays around the stage putting hysterical periods on several of the larger sketches but in her intimate moments she plays marvelously off whomever she is paired.

Director Marc Warzech keeps the show breezing along with quick paced vibrato and exquisite mockery while Scott Passarella plays appropriate piano background that enlivens the humor.  There are no sets as the cast uses simple chairs to create a myriad of diverse locales that become known through the dialogue and much of the show’s humor relies on audience imagination.  The cast uses a few audience to help them create some of the routines with amazing skill.

“It’s Not You, It’s Me” is a delightfully amusing show that continues through January 20.  For tickets, call the Phoenix Theatre box office at 602-254-2151 or order tickets online at www.phoenixtheatre.com.

Grade: A