The Neo-Futurists, one of Chicago's most popular funeral home-inhabiting theater troupes, enjoy nothing so much as being confrontational with their audience and trying to get inside their heads, but playfully so.
It's in that spirit that their new interactive game show, "Crisis," was designed. The show also seems to have taken some inspiration, or at least its title, from the current economic crisis and other global turmoil but is mostly focused on the competition and trying to find out what it can about the players' personalities. I must now depart from customary third-person objective journalism to admit that I participated fully in the event. I walked in to the lobby and tried my hand at the Scantron test of general knowledge questions, then discovered that I scored high enough to be a Team Captain. Can your humble reviewer help it if he's something of a trivia maven? I shall stop bragging now as I was eliminated fairly quickly in the ensuing competitions and made to sit, shamefacedly, with my fellow "losers."
The show is mostly a mashup between several classic and contemporary game shows - "Family Feud," "The Apprentice," "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire," etc - none too original, but presented with vigor. John Pierson and Dan Kerr-Robert are the charming, vaguely malevolent hosts with Clifton Frei as the mostly offstage, godlike "CEO"; an accompanying band plays catchy, comedic songs.
Mostly, the attempts at cutting satire of corporate plutocracy seem extraneous but there are a thousand other shows in town where you can get that. "Crisis" is a fun, live gameshow and there's nothing wrong with that.