Funny Second City people, I see that look in your eye, and I know what you’re thinking. You’re dreaming, not so outrageously, that a mostly new cast could come together on stage, gel instantly and infuse sparkling-fresh life into your comedy troupe.
And perhaps you have the notion, in your 68th mainstage comedy revue, that one of the newcomers, say, the high-voiced, rubbery Jamaican-Canadian Nigel Downer, would electrify right out of the gate and poise himself immediately as a breakout star. Maybe your high hopes involve risky improv bits that manage to click.
And, no, it wouldn’t be too much to ask that your staging and segues be bold and smooth, and that your numerous new skits have a modicum of continuity under the helm of first-time director Kerry Griffin.
No doubt Second City encourages itself with its aspirations, and this time its comedic hopes are realized with a strong evening of sketch frolic. Zingers zinged and only a couple of segments failed to succeed.
A giddy pace was set immediately: A black man is held up at gunpoint; turns out it’s Obama, who of course has no money and is left alone to go on his way. Who knew the current President of the United States would be such a dasher of hopes?
The first sketch proper involved a pair of eHarmony adventurists – brainiacs, who excite themselves into a hilarious lather with their high intellect. “Smarter, smarter!” instead of “harder, harder!” and like that.
If daters fool themselves into thinking that the next one is the right one, couples aren’t much better: Two lesbians admire what they figure is the suburban marital bliss of their straight friends. So wrong. A night out for the husband and wife involves a band recital (“watching eight-year-olds ruin music) and a drive in a minivan (“the jogging pants of cars”).
Long, loose jokester Alastair Forbes was the double-talking Canadian Prime Minister, speaking himself in circles when it came to justifying the perhaps dubious goals of the military mission to Afghanistan.
Horse-riding policemen, now there’s a target. They ride high, providing a sense of security. But what do they really accomplish? Heck, to elude them all a criminal needs to do is take a sharp left into a bush. (Steeplechase humour, people.)
Back to the winning first-timer, Downer. His Hitler humour caused a funny furor, and his kinetic antics as a tech-savvy son frustrated by his Luddite mom were priceless.
Fan-favourite Inessa Frantowski, who was pitch-perfect as a Ukrainian prostitute with all sorts of available crevices, was at the centre of the final sketch, a surreal fantasy scene that turned out much differently than she might have guessed.
Delusions, of course, are the truths that we need. But is placing our comedic trust in the Second City company a leap of faith? Not much of one, fortunately. And with Dreams Really Do Come True!, a stream of sharp funny presented by a charismatic cast, most all reasonable wishes are granted.
Dreams Really Do Come True! is running at The Second City, 51 Mercer St., Toronto (416-343-0011).
Dreams Really Do Come True! (and other lies)
- Written and Performed by Ashley Marie Comeau, Jason DeRosse, Nigel Downer, Alastair Forbes, Inessa Frantowski and Carly Hefferan
- Directed by Kerry Griffin
- At Second City in Toronto