Second City Toronto’s New Show: If I Could #ThrowBack Time

Black, McConnell, Lewis, Wilson, Metcalfe, Rasool in If I Could #Throwback Time Second City Toronto, photo Paul Aihoshi
Black, McConnell, Lewis, Wilson, Metcalfe, Rasool in If I Could #Throwback Time Second City Toronto, photo Paul Aihoshi

Second City Toronto is back with their 83rd Revue: If I Could #Throwback Time – and yes, they’re still on a comedy winning streak. Torontonicity was invited to the opening night of this mainstage revue and treated to some serious laugh out loud moments, sprinkled with a little nostalgia. Their current mainstage cast has some old favourites, names from other fantastic shows, and amazing chemistry!

If you haven’t been to any Second City Toronto shows over the last couple of years, you’ve been missing out! They’ve been bringing some serious talent together and the results have been magical. Second City Toronto’s tradition of encouraging growth through progressive skill development continues as Tricia Black has joined the mainstage team, who we first saw in She The People. You can read about that hilarious all-female show, here!

Black, McConnell, Lewis, Wilson, Metcalfe, Rasool in If I Could #Throwback Time Second City Toronto, photo Paul Aihoshi
Black, McConnell, Lewis, Wilson, Metcalfe, Rasool in If I Could #Throwback Time Second City Toronto, photo Paul Aihoshi

Black was already a standout in She The People, but really solidifies herself in If I Could #Throwback Time. There’s one solo song that’s so hilarious, and catches the audience off guard, that everyone burst into laughter when they realized what the message was. I can’t say anything more without giving the joke away, but there’s a reference made to it later in the show – maybe as a brilliant and intentional callback – that gets the audience laughing that much harder because of the song. I can’t wait to see what Tricia Black does next, she’s a stellar talent!

Another amazing talent and a new name to the mainstage cast is Alan Shane Lewis. He has so many fantastic moments, but there’s one Scooby-Doo sketch that really catches the audience off guard. Lewis’s entrance to the stage is impeccable and he brings such a well-balanced physicality – he embodies the character perfectly! I instantly burst into laughter.

There are a couple of #throwback musical references to songs that no one likes to admit they know in this show, and these sketches highlight the writing skills and comedic genius of the cast. The sketch starts out in one way and then takes an unexpected sharp turn that leaves everyone laughing hysterically. I won’t even mention or hint towards which sketches they are because just mentioning the intro would ruin the surprise! Just know that I have already spoken to several friends about these sketches and convinced them to join me on a Second City Toronto night out – yes, I’m already making plans to see the show again.

Two returning cast members that deserve a major shout-out are Sharjil Rasool and Chris Wilson. These two aren’t afraid to make fun of themselves or inject a little slapstick into their performances, and the results are comedy gold. These two comedians have a sketch together that has a serious political message at its’ core but is so outlandish in the delivery that you’ll be thinking about it long after you’ve left 51 Mercer Street.

At this point, I’m highlighting every cast member of the mainstage, but they all deserve mention: Clare McConnell is the tall one. She’s also hilarious. She doesn’t hold back from any character and is willing to be flat our ridiculous to get a laugh – her commitment is impressive. She also has the strongest deadpan look, which you’ll see during the McDonald sketch. Make sure to listen closely as her self-deprecating joke feels like it’s inspired by some serious schoolyard teasing.

One cast member who demonstrated a sweet sincerity during an improv moment was Natalie Metcalfe. She managed to make a genuine connection with the audience member she brought up on stage, and it made for a heart-warming moment that surprised everyone. She also seems to thoroughly enjoy working with her cast members, as you can see a slight smirk creep out of the corner of her mouth occasionally. Don’t be fooled by the sweet disposition though, as she’s also funny as hell and has some serious laugh out loud moments.

Another aspect of the Second City Toronto experience that I must highlight is the snacks from next door at Gretzky’s! I’m addicted to their chips and guacamole, and it now feels as much of a necessity to the experience as popcorn at the movies. The chips aren’t thin, but instead, handle a healthy serving of dip and that is a must for me.

If you’re not sure what to order for drinks or food, make sure to ask their incredibly friendly staff who can make recommendations and even request a cocktail that may not be on the menu – like the Blueberry Tea that has Grand Marnier and Orange Pekoe and is ideal for the colder months that are quickly approaching. It’s my go-to post-chips-and-guac cocktail to help settle my stomach, but also helps keep the laughter flowing during the rest of the show.

Alright, if none of the above has convinced you to check out the current mainstage revue at Second City Toronto, then consider this: when was the last time you went out and reflected upon how ridiculous things from the 90s were? This is the perfect evening to take a trip down a hilarious memory lane, so why not grab some friends or family members and treat yourselves to an evening of comedy? If I Could #Throwback Time is currently on and makes a fantastic option for that exceptionally difficult person on your holiday gift list.

Tickets for If I Could #Throwback Time start at $28 and are available by phone at 416-343-0011 or online at Second City. The Mainstage show schedule for The Second City Toronto is Tuesdays through Thursdays at 8 p.m; Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.; Sundays at 7:30 p.m.

You might be interested in reading my review of Second City Toronto’s Walking on Bombshells.