War is the number one subject of Second City’s revue, but deception’s the theme. The big liars are of course Bush and Rumsfeld, but we’re all implicated–and bits about duplicitous parents, dates who inflate their credentials, and a job interviewee who hides nothing imply that the world’s better off a little deceived. The ensemble castigates conservatives for their policies on immigration, privacy, and marriage and chastises liberals: a deified Oprah, an unethical Kennedy-esque senator, and in the most derisive satire, a sexually obliging George Clooney. Sometimes the show is hypocritical: in its way SC caters as much to liquored-up lefties as Fox News (also mocked here) does to its right-leaning sponsors, and though the women cast members are more sexualized than the men, the troupe lampoons hip-hop videos for their misogyny. But Marc Warzecha’s direction is confident–the rapid pace is invigorating, and the lighting and sound precisely underscore the performers’ exquisite timing. And the actors’ energy and talent (embodied best in Maribeth Monroe) are exemplary. Overall this is potent, sophisticated comedy. Open run: Tue-Thu 8 PM, Fri-Sat 8 and 11 PM, Sun 7 PM, Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 312-337-3992, $18-$24. Free improv sets follow shows Tue-Thu 10 PM, late Sat 1 AM, and Sun 9 PM.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Bob Knuth.