The Show, Redneck Surfers Productions, at ImprovOlympic. If you want to see The Show, you’ll have to brave Wrigleyville at midnight on a Saturday. Which means bad traffic, heavy crowds, vomitty sidewalks, gibbering beggars, and the possibility that you’ll find yourself–as I did–sitting near some loudmouthed fools who don’t know enough to stay off their cell phones during a performance.

See it anyway.

The hour and the clientele notwithstanding, The Show is a sharply observed, smartly acted, surprisingly wholesome new comedy that uses a series of vignettes to tell the tale of a Schaumburg boy, Jigs, and his sweet, funny progress from being somebody’s child to becoming somebody’s dad. Though there are the requisite run-ins with girls in this coming-of-age story, what’s intriguing is the fact that Jigs’s developing maturity is defined entirely in terms of his relationships with other men–specifically, his father and his best friend. Once upon a time, this interest in conventionally masculine roles and role models would have doomed The Show to be read as a series of cliches. That now it seems refreshing indicates how surreal the whole idea of manhood has become. It also says something about the energy and conviction the Redneck Surfers bring to this production. Rob Ditter demonstrates a particularly expressive physicality as Jigs, but it’s his rapport with Louie Bruce, playing both dad and friend, that makes The Show come off as true rather than obvious. These are loving performances.