It’s been a little over 30 years since I first saw “Shear Madness” in the Theatre District, back in the day when I lived in Boston. My first experience with the show was a solo adventure. I remember being enthralled with the idea of a stage show having a variable ending and being so up-to-the-minute with current event references in the dialog. I’ve seen the show a few times since, the most recent being the late 1990s in the same theatre in Boston.
“Shear Madness” is playing at the Mercury Theater around the corner from us here in Chicago. The four of us enjoyed the show very much and all of us were laughing throughout.
There are several important ingredients in this show, the most vital being an ensemble that works well together, and the performers in tonight’s production worked the stage wonderfully as a team.
The production, the set, the approach, all echoed the productions I saw back in Boston, mind you with all the Beantown references removed and replaced with Chicagoisms. Part scripted production, part improv, part stand-up, all of the performers were up to the task of a great performance. Not to give too much away, but there’s a part of the performance where the audience participates (“Big deal, I took a whole place setting.” “Not now, MA!”*). The four of us all contributed (not that there was a test or anything) and even outside of the audience participation portion, I still felt quite engaged with the show.
I’d like to give a special shoutout to Brittany D Parker as Barbara DeMarco and Mary Robin Roth as Mrs. Schubert. The whole cast was very good.
If you get the chance I highly recommend seeing “Shear Madness”. It’s a great escape and a fun time for all.
* Props to those who get that reference from another whodunit scenario.