There’s a different brand of humour spewing out of The Second City’s latest revue – and it’s not quite so rosy.
Everything is Great Again opened in Toronto on Mar. 22, and let me tell you, it’s a heavy one. That's probably because all of the elephants in the room are stampeding toward you: Trump, transphobia, xenophobia, racism, sexual violence, unemployment— you name it. Above all else is the reality that despite a sunny demeanour and a prime minister with a good head of hair, Canada is not immune to the horrors currently plaguing Western society.
The ensemble (Devon Hyland, Brandon Hackett, Colin Munch, Paloma Nuñez, Lindsay Mullan and Ann Pornel) delivers punch-you-in-the-face politics dusted with a laugh-now-cry-later, no holds barred kind of comedy. They open the show with just a taste of what’s to come, in a quick skit featuring a refugee who has come to Canada to escape the perils of Michigan. (Too soon? They certainly don’t think so.)
The show snowballs to form a collection of politically-charged skits, including one featuring a moustachioed Nuñez personifying Mexico and ending a romantic relationship with the U.S., and another where Munch and Pornel play audience members in a heated argument over free speech during a “Kitty Cops” show (i.e. Nuñez and Hyland prancing around the stage in cat costumes).
Second City’s refreshed mainstage cast, recently joined by Nuñez, Hyland and Munch, has a remarkable onstage chemistry, dropping bomb after bomb on the audience while keeping them in fits of giggles. They playfully point a finger at Canadians who think nothing is going on in their own backyard and give them one word to chew on: O’Leary (and then a lot more to chew on afterward).
This isn’t one of those shows you get lost in. The performers snatch any remaining rose-coloured goggles from the audience members, creating an increasing awareness of the revue’s urgency and relevance. The ensemble unapologetically hits real close to home and the impact is as paralyzing as it is funny.
Everything is Great Again, directed by Kerry Griffin, is playing at The Second City (51 Mercer St., Toronto) until June 30. For more information, visit http://www.secondcity.com.