Review: Dreams Really Do Come True (And Other Lies)
By Brianne Hogan
Alastair Forbes and Inessa Frantowski being weird (Image: CallbackHeadshots.com)
Do dreams really come true? No. At least not according to the funny folks at Second City. It seems that all of our so-called “dreams” are really just a bunch of lies (sorry!), and this disappointing truism is hilariously proved and performed in the latest Second City mainstage revue, Dreams Really Do Come True (And Other Lies).
Though the show’s been open for a few months now, I just recently caught the show with my Second City class. As a student of Toronto’s Second City, I feel like I’m the perfect (if not ever-so-slightly-biased) person to walk you through how to enjoy a Second City show. First and foremost, when attending a Second City show for the first time, one should know that each performance is rooted in sketch comedy, with moments of improv sprinkled in for good measure (naturally, since improvisation is the backbone of the comic establishment).
That being said, attending a Second City show is for those who a) like to laugh, b) are not expecting some clever Wes Anderson script and c) don’t mind the go-to-funny. What do I mean by all of that? Let’s go through it:
A) You like to laugh. Pretty self-explanatory. You’ve come to the right place. Second City is the ideal place for those who are seeking two hours of goofiness. P.S.: No one cares if you have a weird laugh, because they won’t be able to hear you above their own laughter.
B) Not “Wes Anderson clever,” you ask? Well, if you’re looking for nuanced, deadpan delivery, you’ve come to the wrong theatre, my friend. Here at Second City, you’ll be greeted with coarse language, suggested (if not gratuitous) sexuality and taboo subjects. The dialogue is more about punch lines than subtext, and that simple formula works plenty fine.
C) “Go-to-funny”? By that I mean the tried-and-true gags that we’ve all seen somewhere before (SNL, MADtv, etc.) and which almost always garner some kind of guffaw. In Dreams, we have the comical rapping-at-a-funeral scene, featuring two white dudes (Alastair Forbes and Jason DeRosse) along with the requisite black guy (Nigel Downer). Then, of course, there’s the weird-multi-position-simulation-sex-while-crying scene (with Forbes and the always fantastically funny Inessa Frantowski) that’s guaranteed laughs, because sex in weird positions while crying is, well, funny. In both sketches, the actors display the usual gusto that’s expected from a Second City performance, even if the sketches are a bit clichéd.
The cast, under the keen and crazy direction of Second City veteran Kerry Griffin, shares the magical chemistry that’s required amongst performers who are doing silly things together. You know, things like jumping and rolling around as Vietnam vets, pointing out jiggly parts or discovering that they’re related to Adolf Hitler. Of course, the cast really comes together in the second act, when they get to do what they do best: improv.
And whoever says they don’t want to be chosen as the “lucky” audience member who gets to go on stage and do silly things with them is lying. You might even say it’s a dream come true.
Dreams Really Do Come True (And Other Lies), The Second City, 51 Mercer St. Limited Run.