“We can be heroes, just without powers,” sings The Second City ensemble (Craig Brown, Jan Caruana, Stacey McGunnigle, Allison Price, Connor Thompson and Kevin Vidal) in the song that opens We Can Be Heroes, directed by Kerry Griffin. Indeed, Second City’s latest revue is nothing short of heroic, filled with comedic takes on the issues plaguing the everyday Torontonian hero. It is not those with capes hidden under their normal clothes that are the focus of this revue, however – it is the heroes whose deeds go unnoticed. We Can Be Heroes gives credit to those who stand up to bizarre sea creatures, or their potential best men.
The Second City ensemble injects humour into current trends, with Price playing a character who sings about whether or not the man she is attracted to is homeless or a hipster. Meanwhile, the female members of the ensemble proclaim themselves “bad feminists” as they find they cannot stop themselves from dancing along to Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.”
Physical comedy is a substantial strength of the piece, with a hilarious dance number to Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” finishing off a strong skit about two figure skaters (Price and Vidal) debating whether or not to boycott the Russian Olympics, due to Russia’s opposition to homosexuality. Thompson also shines, scurrying around the stage as a bat, haunting a couple’s cottage. The audience is invited to get in on the action, as one skit involves an audience member twerking on stage, alongside the ensemble.
It is McGunnigle that delivers the performance of the night, however, with her roles ranging from an inappropriately sexy boss to an inappropriately oblivious woman who just wants some corn on a stick.
As is the nature of a sketch comedy piece, there are certainly some skits that work better than others. One skit featuring Caruana as a young girl selling Girl Guide cookies to an older man (Vidal) was heartwarming, but drawn out and out-of-place amongst the other comedic pieces, due to its more serious nature.
Overall, The Second City ensemble members manage to take what are often very serious issues and to present comedic twists on them with tact and finesse. This revue is certainly not one to be missed.
We Can Be Heroes is running at 55 Mercer St., Toronto, until January 2014.
Tickets $15-29. Available at www.secondcity.com or 416-343-0011.