Do you like to laugh? Not just chuckle or smirk to yourself, but genuinely laugh (and possibly cry) - face, belly and all? Look no further than a night at the Second City to satisfy your needs. The Toronto comedy scene staple’s 81st revue, The Best is Yet To Come Undone premiered on March 27th and has been providing healthy doses of humour to audiences almost every night. No two nights are the same and the very able and willing cast serve their accessible brand of funny through sketch and improv in two jam-packed acts. The show hits all the right places with heart, seemingly endless energy, cheeky humour, and very real emotions. As relevant as ever, the cast guides us through a night of consent, racism and the technology embedded in our everyday lives.
From the start, the aptly named, “This is the Opening Number of the Show” sets the pace with a short but sweet song followed by a swift blackout. The cast goes hard and fast, diving immediately into a sketch about consent. Chris Wilson and Clare McConnell show their physical humour is no match for this sensitive subject as they reenact the all-too-familiar awkwardness of bringing home a date and not knowing where the night will take you.
Celebrating the talented women of the cast, McConnell, Natalie Metcalfe and Nadine Djoury lead with strong performances highlighting female empowerment throughout the show. From a woman’s fear of being basic to a group of self-absorbed ladies meaning well with soft spoken radio advice, the audience was given thorough insight into some familiar sentiments. In the first act, Metcalfe performs with raw emotion as she declares her self-worth to a bewildered Wilson exaggerating a typical “is this a fight?” between lovers, showing the audience a real and personal moment under a comedic light.
Photo credit: Paul Aihoshi.
In The Best is Yet To Come Undone, the cast shows no signs of slowing down even between sketches with their quick-witted blackouts poking fun at Disney classics, jury selection and foreplay. As audiences have come to expect, a show at Second City is not complete without some improvisation and audience participation. McConnell leads a unique scene telling her tale of a day of violence as the audience dictated each cast member’s part in the story, engaging and, at times, laughing along with us as the scene unfolds.
Taking on a sketch that could be very hit or miss, Wilson replaced Brandon Hackett in a scene with Sharjil Rasool about racism. The basic premise of a white man trying to play the role of a black man can very well be funny on its own. Fortunately for this audience, it was Wilson and Rasool’s delivery that lit up the room with the awkward nature of doing exactly that, trying to play the other’s race. Wilson hit a high note when took to the wall to twerk it out, driving what definitely will not be the last of his physical humour.
Djoury and Hackett’s scene about a very observant Google Home system sheds light on the very real miscommunication in modern relationships and the role technology is already playing in our lives, whether we notice or not. Djoury also shares a fast-forward dating story with Wilson, playing out their all-too-likely relationship if she swiped right on Tinder. Both scenes showcase the cast’s talent for pushing boundaries and bluntly helping the audience to laugh at the things we’ve come to accept as normal.
Rasool slows the show down long enough to give the audience a possible tear-jerk moment with his tender ballad of life through the eyes of a lonely crosswalk button. His observations and sense of humour rounded out the otherwise punch-after-punch pace of the show.
Though, the physicality in The Best is Yet To Come Undone may very well be what steals the show. Each cast member used their bodies and movement to put exclamation marks on their sketches, putting them over the top to keep the audience roaring with laughter. From Metcalfe’s hair whipping to McConnell’s and Rasool’s clothing swap to Djoury undressing on stage to Wilson’s dance moves, there’s no shortage of scenes to watch intently and only guess where each one will take us.
This refreshing show, saturated with the very real issues we all deal with spun in a light-hearted way, may be the best the Mainstage has seen yet. Sheer talent, dedication and love for the craft is rampant in this cast, and it’s clear that they have so much left to give. The bonus of knowing that every show is unique and the audience will always play a part makes this a guaranteed good time, and a highly recommended night out. Do it for the laughs, and the relatability that connects us all.
The show runs Tues-Sun at the Second City Mainstage Theatre, 51 Mercer St. www.secondcity.com/toronto or 416-343-0011 for tickets.