My best friend and fellow writer, Vanessa and I had the pleasure of attending The Second City Toronto’s 81st Mainstage Revue of ‘The Best is Yet to Come Undone’ on April 9th. With all that has happened this past year, it’s almost hard to remember some of the things you’d like to have forgotten. For example – Trump antics, less than satisfactory “advancements” in technology, the word “woke” etc and believe me, there IS an etc!!! Watch this show for 10 minutes and it’s all going to come flooding in as fast as you swipe left on a Tinder match with an unsavoury zodiac sign. Byeeeeee!
HOWEVER – Second City’s cast and crew made some of these bleak evolution’s of our current and future society quite comical. What else would you expect from Second City other than to be articulate and ruthlessly honest as to what we have seen coming down the pipe in 2017/18.
Director Carly Heffernan, Assistant Director Paul Bates, and the mainstage cast who performed the show, had a lot of material to write on and perform. Without giving away any monumental moments, I will just say that their accuracy on the topics in the show were on POINT! I love Second City performances (this was just my 3rd), because of course they remind me of one of my favourite shows, Saturday Night Live. However, I have always thought nothing, absolutely nothing, can beat or even compare to SNL sketches. Well – this performance, to me, matched the quality and comicality of one of their better episodes. Not only was the show largely authentic, it also had a level of maturity and professionalism combined with cleverness in each sketch. Being too nonsensical or immature can bring the quality of a show like this down, but in Second City’s case, they NAILED IT across the board.
Speaking of SNL, Chris Wilson (who in this show made his first Second City appearance!) reminded myself and my friend of Beck Bennett from the cast of Saturday Night Live. Beck is one of my favourite actors on the show, so this speaks volumes of Chris’ performance! I’d say Chris’ performance is on par and in line with the quality of some of the top actors on SNL. Chris has an extensive background in writing and acting, and it shows. Even with the no-frills set and no costume changes, each time he came out, I felt like I was seeing an entirely new character. I really don’t want to give anything away, but one of my favorite parts by Chris was near the very end. Ladies born in the mid-late 80’s who loved pop music as a pre-teen, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
I was happy to see Brandon Hackett on the mainstage again, as he is one of the most memorable actors for me from previous SC shows. He’s got a voice like none I’ve ever heard. I’m sure he gets that a lot. When I hear him speak, it reminds me of my first time out at Second City with my sister and co-blogger, Tara, who introduced me to the world of community theater at a very young age! Brandon is always a strong presence on the stage to say the least. His confidence and exuberance compliment his friendly demeanour and professionalism in comedy on stage. Brandon Hackett is.the.man.to.beat. **insert claps between words**
Stacey McGunnigle and Nadine Djoury performed one of my favourite sketches of the night. Crushing each other’s sense of feeling unique in a society that’s almost impossible to be unique in when there are so many expectations on how to look, what to wear, what designer bags to have, what new fad diet is on, and the list goes on, and on, and on…… They made the bleak reality of our strive for individuality in such a media and peer pressured civilization funny, but also reminded me as a woman how ridiculous it is to follow these rules. Not conforming to society is what truly makes us individual, and not just like any other ‘basic bitch’. These ladies did a professional and utterly hilarious and fantastic job all night long in their “screw you’s” to society. Both of these women have extensive experience in writing and performing. To see these ladies in lead roles even outside of SC, is an inspiration in a world where women are starting to rise up, break barriers and defy social norms. Extra props to Stacey in her performance of baseball coach in one sketch – she had us howling!
Along with Stacey and Nadine, Allana Reoch was another empowering woman on stage. She was quirky and cute, and over the top (in a good way) hilarious in showing us ‘her worth’ as a woman, and she made it known! Her characters were a little crazy and irrational, but also so relatable to I think many mid 20’s – 30’s women in the audience. She poked fun at how outlandish and ludicrous women are perceived by men and even other women. Though one could take offence to this, it was done respectfully, and also wasn’t SO far off the course of reality sometimes, let’s admit it ladies.
Last but certainly not least, was Sharjil Rasool. I believe this was my first time seeing Sharjil on stage at SC. He is an amazing addition to the cast! (Pardon me on lack of knowledge of when he joined). Sharjil has a unique sense of self in his acting. He was outstanding and lively on stage, a quirky confidence I can only dream of having! In probably one of my top 3 favourite sketches of the night, him and his co-performer on stage, again Stacey McGunnigle, made a reality for me actually seem not so strange! In a hilarious bit about height and weight difference, in that the wife is larger than her husband, Stacey and Sharjil killed it in describing an accurate story for me. I have been in a situation myself where I’ve tried on my husbands’ pants and found myself furious at his tinier-than-me stature. However! Just because your husband can be smaller, does not mean they are any less handsome as devils and as hilarious as some of the greatest comedians. This was precise when it came to Sharjil (and my husband!).
Jordan Armstrong is Second City Toronto’s FIRST female mainstage Musical Director, and this was her SC debut! The music created the ambience from sombre to slapstick hilarity and melded so well with the performance on stage. Georgia-Priestley Brown, another fab woman on the crew of the show, has ample experience and history with the Second City Toronto, let alone her many other theatre credits. Her experience shone throughout the performance.
Not only was the show on point with current and recent events, but it was even empowering. Being directed, stage managed, and musically directed by some stellar women, and written by a cast which included such vibrant and confident female performers made me feel inspired. ‘The Best is Yet to Come Undone’ not only demonstrates hilarity and comedy gold, it also displays professionalism and intelligence of these actors and actresses of their astute awareness of society today. Being able to let our guard down a little and not feel so uptight, and find humour in the tough stuff, needs to be an option for us. Otherwise, we’ll end up miserable, unaware, dried up little raisins like Donald Trump.
You’ve got to catch this show!
Performances running every Tuesday through Thursday night. Tickets starting at $27. Student and group prices available! Check out more info here
The Second City, 51 Mercer Street, Toronto