Review: In Search of Cruise Control (Gangland Productions)

Photo of James Gangl in In Search of Cruise ControlToronto’s James Gangl gives us “the sex talk” in his hilarious solo show In Search of Cruise Control

In In Search Of Cruise Control, James Gangl‘s one-man comedy show, a sexually complicated uncle tries to have “the sex talk” with his awkward young nephew. I had a chance to see it tonight at the John Candy Box Theatre, and it wasn’t quite what I was expecting.

It was more a story of a complicated sexual journey that climaxed with an amazing, revolutionary moment. See what I did there?

Pretty much from the get-go – the “pre-show announcements” telling us how we’d know when the show was starting – we were laughing. Gangl has a way of making the obvious funny, and he’s quite masterful at making fun of himself.

If you’ve read my reviews, you know that I love audience interaction, and I’m overjoyed when I am the target of it. It’s one of the reasons I usually sit in the front row. Just as the show started, Gangl made a quip about me “scratching my foot” (I was adjusting my sock).

This joke was fodder for several other jokes later in the show – including a hilarious bit about a shoe fetish with an amused audience member (who, unbelievably, was there with her teenaged son in what seemed like a set-up – though I doubt that it was). He played very spontaneously with the audience.

To me, that’s one of the more impressive things about this show, and Gangl himself. It seemed to have a lot of improvisation, and Gangl appeared totally comfortable stepping outside of the script, and often. It’s a script that I’d actually love to read because I suspect it is largely improvised – which is even more impressive given the excellent cues on lighting and sound.

What really surprised me about this show is this: it dealt with some serious, emotional, and traumatic subject matter and managed to keep it both serious AND funny. If you’ve seen Gangl’s Sex, Religion, and Other Hang-Ups, you probably know what I’m referring to. If you haven’t, I won’t spoil it.

If touching, honest, hilarious solo shows are your thing, if you’re Catholic and can laugh about it, or you just appreciate a very well-done racist South African lady accent (his IS good, and I am a snob about these things), then you should maybe check out this show. I laughed – sometimes far too loudly, sometimes in snorts – throughout most of it. Neither myself nor my companion could think of one negative.

Details

  • In Search Of Cruise Control is playing until March 26, 2016 at the John Candy Box Theatre (99 Peter Street)
  • Shows run Thursday to Saturday. Please see website for showtimes
  • Ticket prices are $15 and are available online
  • The venue’s elevator is out of service and there are three flights of stairs to the theatre
  • Contains adult content

Photo of James Gangl provided by company