By Paul Love
Second City is a world-famous comedy enterprise that has been around for 60 years, and thankfully doesn’t feel the need to rest on its laurels, as evidenced by their 82nd mainstage revue, Walking on Bombshells.
Smartly written and brilliantly performed, Walking on Bombshells is sketch comedy at its best. Director Chris Earle and Assistant Director Ashley Botting keep the action fast-paced and well-choreographed with razor-sharp comedic timing, making full use of the set. And what a set it is! Bob Knuth’s gorgeously detailed TTC subway platform is the perfect backdrop for a show that is mainly about modern life in Toronto.
It is the writers and performers — Nadine Djoury (whose performance on this night was adeptly handled by touring company member Jillian Welsh), Stacey McGunnigle, Sharjil Rasool, Allana Reoch, PHATT al, and Chris Wilson — who truly make this a night to remember. Every member of this troupe commits fully to these sometimes zany, sometimes poignant, and always hilarious scenes that range from a few seconds to a few minutes, and are wonderfully, painfully relatable. Standout moments include: Chris Wilson’s hilariously accurate and dialogue-free performance of how everyone looks while browsing an art gallery; PHATT al laying into his doctor about body-shaming; Allana Reoch repeatedly waking up from all-too-familiar political nightmares; Sharjil Rasool excitedly bragging about purchasing a condo as the horrible reality of the situation sets in; Stacey McGunnigle doing top-notch drunk acting as a woman down in the dumps about her birthday; and Jillian Welsh as an Air Canada flight attendant announcing everything from beverage choices to turbulence in both English and French.
These six performers showcase their comedic skills throughout the show as they skewer hot-topic issues like cannabis legalization, predictive text software, and Netflix fatigue. The troupe discusses things we think about but often don’t speak of out loud — like race, gender, and body image — to hilarious effect. The material is very definitely adult-oriented but without ever being unnecessarily raunchy, or ever feeling the need to lazily pepper the dialogue with foul language. You will laugh, you will think, and you will never hear the words “lemon chicken” the same way again.
If you’re in the mood for a night of smartly written, riotously funny sketch comedy, check out “Walking on Bombshells” at Second City, located at 51 Mercer Street in Toronto. The show is performed every Tuesday through Thursday at 8 pm, Fridays and Sundays at 7:30 pm, and Saturdays at 10 pm. The show closes August 11th. Tickets are available at the door, by calling (416) 343-0011, or by visiting the website.