U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, Confederate flags and Chuck E. Cheese figured into Blackout’s opening-night performance. With an alternating team of African American improv artists, this production spins conversations and spontaneous sketches out of politics and other random topics (as in: audience members pluck topics from a hat, generating a different show every time). Blackout stalwart Joy Dolo Anfinson was the standout, especially when channeling Busta Rhymes and freestyling an alternate history without Harry Potter. Though her castmates struggled to hit their groove, it was genuinely interesting to hear their thoughts on current events — and exhilarating when on-the-spot jokes could fly. (7 p.m. Sat., 8:30 p.m. Mon., 5:30 p.m. Wed., 8:30 p.m. Thu., Phoenix Theater, 2605 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls.)

CHRISTY DeSMITH