Company: See Smay Run, Winnipeg, MB
Venue: 8 - The Rachel Browne Theatre
Smart, funny sketch comedy plus a well-acted drama equals a rollicking two-for-one show – with a bonus earworm!
Smart, funny sketch comedy plus a well-acted drama equals a rollicking two-for-one show - with a bonus earworm!
Dana Smith and Tim Gray play two sketch comedy actors named... Dana Smith and Tim Gray. The heart of this production is the drama in the side-stage scenes between Dana and Tim as they interact "backstage" between sketch comedy sets.
Smith and Gray are both genuinely likeable performers, and that goes a long way towards making this set-up charming and fun. Additionally, they're both genuinely funny. The sketches are smart and zippy. They gleefully (but never maliciously) skewer pop culture, including corporate seminars (complete with human sacrifice), '80s pop stars as long-haul truck drivers (I've been humming Hall and Oates songs for the last eight hours), and hip-hop funeral tributes for hire.
Their comedic timing and delivery are spot-on; they fully commit to their characters, and it's impossible not to laugh.
The best surprise of the show is the discovery of Smith and Gray's real acting chops in the "backstage" scenes as they awkwardly explore the possibility of dating. This is drama, not sketch comedy, and shows off each performer's range as they move through uncertainty, clumsiness, an argument that feels cringingly familiar, and kindness.
Smith (who wrote the script) uses this structure to provide a depth that would otherwise be lacking, and Gray's ability to portray such authentic vulnerability is remarkable.
This is a show by, for, and about 20-somethings, their trials and tribulations and pop culture universe. If you're over 40, it might not feel as fresh, but you won't regret the time you spend with these two performers.