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It’s Not the Heat, It’s the Cupidity, Cupid Players, at Theatre Building Chicago. In this musical sketch-comedy show revolving around various people who’ve all rented the same hotel room, the vignettes start off clever and sarcastic but invariably end up sweet and sentimental. A couple carrying on a long-distance relationship by telephone engages in progressively funnier miscommunications that lead to a blowup–and then a reconciliation. A sneering loner attending his ten-year high school reunion sings a crackling solo about his classmates’ shortcomings–then decides he’s the jerk and should try to make nice. Even an amusing sketch about burned-out, drug-addicted Muppets ends with a dull, almost corporate cheeriness, which makes the show feel like a Disney movie with bad words. And the bellboy character (Jack Perdue) who’s supposedly our guide to the wacky world of the Universal Hotel falls completely flat. The only perfect sketch is a hilarious dance for bellboys and maids that brings our worst fears about hotel staff to life.
The talented, high-energy cast is terrific (including Perdue, who does the best Kermit impression I’ve seen). They change characters swiftly and convincingly, and director Brian Posen (who also performs and plays piano) keeps the many story lines engaging and clear, even in the virtuoso final scene, when most of the characters come together in surprising ways.