Miracle captures spirit of Atlanta in improv

The Second City, an improv comedy troupe of six performers from Chicago, has once again put on their hilarious holiday-inspired show, Miracle on 1280 Peachtree Street, at the Alliance Theatre.
The show expertly mixes both improvisational and rehearsed songs and comedy sketches based on Atlanta and the unique comedy opportunities it presents. The specific mix of hilarious comedy and timely politics packs a punch Atlantans will find particularly potent.
The structure of the show would feel familiar to anyone who has seen a sketch comedy show like SNL or Mad TV. Nothing specific weaves the disjointed sketches into a greater work; each section of the show stands by itself as a self-contained giggle factory. The audience does not have to keep track of complicated plots and murky motivations. Anyone looking for a deep meaning or serious treatise should look elsewhere.
The show opened with a “Twelve Days of Christmas” inspired song, celebrating some of Atlanta’s shortcomings and quirks. Dressed all in black and sporting few props, the troupe executed sketch after sketch of gently scathing humor with timing and sometimes pitch.
No one and nothing was safe from their crosshairs. Mayors (previous and current), councilwomen, governor, the Falcons, Coca-Cola and race are just some of the light fare served to the audience.
One of the best sketches was “Tyler Perry’s Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol,” followed closely by “Mrs. Chamblee-Dekalb-Peachtree-Dunwoody and her grandchild visit Santa at Phipps.”
Some of these things may not make sense without a cursory background of Atlanta politics and traditions. However, it is not necessary to have extensive knowledge concerning the political goings-on in Atlanta. The comedy still comes through even with only knowledge of the headlines of the past year and recognizing names.
After taking suggestions from the crowd, the ensemble took the show in new directions. The audience trying to come up with ludicrous suggestions to stump the performers and seeing if the performers can handle them was a hoot.
The audience seemed to be in cahoots to try and get the ensemble stuck or get one of them to laugh. The cast did wonderfully taking the terms of the performance and turning it into something unforgettable.
The theater is not a gargantuan hall but rather is small and cozy. As if the audience needs to feel more a part of the show, the venue is small enough that the show frequently engulfs the audience.
In fact, several times several members of the audience were directly interacting with the actors. One sketch even had an unsuspecting man as the star, narrated along the path of a noir mystery.
This is a show anyone who has been in Atlanta should see. It is up close and personal, physically and comically.
The performers do an array of impressions and characters, some specific to Atlanta and some not.
They are not afraid to tamper with taboos and always find the lighter side of any situation. After seeing this show, it will be hard not to tell all your friends about this little gem and for all the right reasons.
Miracle on 1280 Peachtree Street is a perfect blend of comedy and politics anyone can appreciate, especially when it is executed so seamlessly.


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