Second City’s Dysfunctional Holiday Revue, at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre. Nothing brings out homicidal impulses like a cup of lukewarm eggnog, a last-minute shopping trip to the mall, or a tense holiday dinner with the family. Pick your poison–odds are it’s covered in Second City’s Dysfunctional Holiday Revue. Save for a few holdovers from last year, the material is either brand-new or tweaked to the point where it seems new. And to borrow a phrase from one of the sketches, whether you celebrate Ramadan, Kwanza, or Hanukkah, it’s still Christmas–and it’s nice to greet the season with something other than stomach-churning dread.
While the show’s format–a mix of gag-oriented blackouts and character-based scene work–would be familiar to anyone who’s attended a Second City revue, it’s worth the trek to Arlington Heights to see how the troupe adjusts to a larger space. An exuberant satire on the Chicago Public Schools’ drastic budget cuts, which has cast members scrambling through the theater, wouldn’t have made as much sense in either of Second City’s cabaret-style spaces. Other bits, like a look at bizarre eastern European Christmas rituals, would play well in just about any venue.