Toronto’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.
- 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