Better Than “Better Than Chocolate,” GayCo Productions, at the Playground. GayCo’s latest revue–a collection of lesbian-themed sketches performed by four of the troupe’s female members–is as subversive as it is wickedly funny: Better Than “Better Than Chocolate” offers endless food for thought. A quasi-“best of” show, it features scenes culled from the company’s past three revues plus new material written under the guidance of director and current Second City main-stage performer Susan Messing.

What’s really impressive about Better Than “Better Than Chocolate” is how effortlessly the performers segue from the ridiculous to the bittersweet. Two scenes from the 1998 Everyone’s Coming Out, Rosie! that bookend the show demonstrate that range: in the opener, a group of women rage against “the white man” in the Gal Cafe coffeehouse, while the subtle closing sketch offers tender, sympathetic insight into the fantasies of two repressed elderly women.

Both in its material and in its approach the production is fearless, tackling several sticky issues. But even the show’s more sanitized moments strike a chord. And the troupe utterly resists the temptation to clutter scenes with jokey one-liners or dumb belly laughs. Better Than “Better Than Chocolate” resonates so deeply, in fact, that audience members might be moved to cry every bit as hard as they laugh.

–Nick Green