'Something Wicked Awesome This Way Comes'

Published: September 29th 2010
in Culture » Stage

�Something Wicked Awesome This Way Comes Cast

With a name like ‘Something Wicked Awesome This Way Comes,’ the latest Second City show has a lot to live up to.


As usual, there are some brilliant parodies and why-has-no-one-thought-of-this-sooner moments – think the simple but inspired imitation of insipid pop songs that had the whole audience singing along – but unfortunately, not a lot of middle ground between those sketches that worked and those that were not so wicked-awesome.


The show’s energetic opening scene sets the right tone to the evening as the entire cast, armed with batons and bike helmets, ‘kettle’ clusters of people in the audience, yelling out instructions like “Go back to the suburbs!” and “Do you know where Montreal is?” before hauling off an innocent audience member backstage.


Notably, they manage to parody the disarray of the G20 without actually taking a political stance – the sort of fine line that the Second City team often strikes with some of their touchier subject matter.


This fine line is exemplified again at the very end, when the show plays up the tension of two people trying to have a rational discussion about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. An offhand comment by one man, in defense of Israel’s actions during the flotilla incident, turns into a full-blown argument that requires them to pause in between yelling to literally stretch and warm up for the next round. “I feel like I can’t talk about Israel with you!” yells one of the men, before adding desperately, “I’d rather talk to a teenage girl about her sexuality!”


Other highlights include a spurned lover trying to win back his ex – an ordeal that turns into a giant, beeping video game set that has to be seen to be believed – and at least before it runs out of steam, an ingenious and very relatable play on those moments where you cross paths with someone you don’t want to and awkwardly fail to avoid eye contact.


The show is less funny when it pretends a popular phenomenon or trend simply is the joke. That’s the problem with the iPhone sketch: we already know iPhones can do everything. The increasingly absurd apps that a character shows off to his colleagues on their way to a work conference doesn’t offer anything new.


As a whole, the second act is less funny than the first, with a skit about two kids throwing a tantrum and driving their mother crazy that is as much fun as watching a real-life tantrum, and a drawn-out scene about the war in Afghanistan that would have been funnier had the ending not been so macabre. Most disappointingly, the cast fails to milk the full comic potential of not one, but two random appearances by Helen Thomas.


Nonetheless, the cast has the talent to redeem some of the more lackluster routines, or at least find pockets of humour in sketches that go nowhere. And though most sketches stuck with irrefutable stereotypes and danced around sensitive subject matter, I found that was fine by me. Why ruin the fun by getting too serious?




Something Wicked Awesome This Way Comes is currently running at the Main Stage at The Second City. For more information, visit www.secondcity.com.

Related articles: (stage, second city, something awesome this way comes, sketch comedy)

Share with friends Print this page Read later Recommend 1 times