Skip to main content

Allison Price and Stacey McGunnigle are part of a snappy bunch starring in Second City’s latest show.

Racheal McCaig

3.5 out of 4 stars

Written by
Craig Brown, Jan Caruana, Stacey McGunnigle, Allison Price, Connor Thompson, Kevin Vidal
Genre
Comedy
Directed by
Kerry Griffin
Company
Second City
City
Toronto

Unhappy the comedy troupe and city that have no heroes. No, unhappy the comedy troupe and city that needs heroes. When thinking about heroes, we can look to Brecht or David Bowie or sketch comedy. A minor-key musical segment, which opens the sparkling new mainstage revue from Second City, despairs of an unnamed land led by a "drug addict" and that is set upon by a police force that shoots people without asking them first. (You may gasp, madam; some of the audience at the opening night for We Can Be Heroes did so.)

The music was reminiscent of the Who's Tommy , which is the story of a Messianic pinball-playing boy. And the worry was that Superman could no longer get super, given that phone booths no longer exist for the required transformation. The resignation? That we can all be heroes, "just without powers."

In front of me in the lineup to the performance were three former Second City cast members. This isn't Saturday Night Live ; Second City people come and go, often with the most talented ones moving on to prime time television commercials. Which brings me to Nigel Downer, the animated and versatile funnyman who, after starring in the company's few previous revues, has left the ensemble.

Story continues below advertisement

It happens.

So, Second City, in need of a new hero. Who steps up for the departed Downer? The answer is the full cast – a snappy bunch, led by the brilliantly watchable and scratchy-voiced redhead Stacey McGunnigle – along with top-notch scripting and directing and a nimble score from Matthew Reid.

Yes, we saw McGunnigle do her thing, elevating a modestly witty bit on door-to-door pollsters with her inspired character creation. (Which, in this case, was a crotchety lady with opinion and wig to spare.) But, mostly, the full cast was at work. The silent movie sketch on a balding man was both poignant and uproarious. And the medieval executioner piece had heads rolling on stage (literally) and bodies doing the same in the aisles (figuratively). You just have to see new guy, Kevin Vidal, do his thing there. Same with fellow newbie Connor Thompson, whose mischievous portrayal of a flapping, cunning bat was another highlight.

Speaking of mannish bats, the production ends as it began, with a musical segment, this time with the un-introverted Jan Caruana fretting about the death of a certain caped crusader. The thinking is that we don't need superheroes to solve our problems, the revue seemingly taking its title from a song by Bowie. He sang that we are nothing and that nothing will help us, but that any of us could be heroes, even if for "just for one day." It adds up.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter