BARAM & SNIECKUS deliver expert-level humour at Toronto’s Second City Theatre
The National Theatre of the World‘s BARAM & SNIECKUS: Still Figuring It Out is a sketch comedy show of the highest quality: thoroughly entertaining, expertly structured, and unceasingly funny. As my friend Jenna said, only true experts can make it look so easy.
Performers Matt Baram and Naomi Snieckus — who are married in real life — deliver a deliciously varied set of sketches exploring love, dating, marriage, and various facets of everyday life. The show was sold out on the night I attended, and it was easy to understand why.
I enjoyed the broad spectrum of topics addressed in the sketches, but I was also impressed by the varied use of the stage and imaginative range of storytelling setups. A couple of the sketches had been filmed and were projected onto the wall. Others, which placed each performer in front of a microphone, explored stories through sound.
There were also plenty of mimed objects; no props were used except the imaginary ones that the performers pretended to have. Snieckus’s wine glass at the cocktail party particularly stood out for me. She handled it with such care that I entirely believed it was real.
Baram and Snieckus gave superb performances; it was a delight to watch two actors with such charisma and professionalism. In every scene, their characters were distinct and well-defined. Every sketch jumped straight into its story and unfolded with superb comedic timing.
The only sketch that Jenna and I didn’t especially enjoy was the one about the community calendar. It was set up as a series of jokes about upcoming events in a fictional community, but the two newscaster characters didn’t address or interact with each other very much, and I thought the sketch suffered from this lack of relationship.
Although the show was predominantly sketch comedy, Baram and Snieckus slipped a couple of improvised scenes into the mix. They supported each other’s offers with such a high degree of polish and conviction that I could almost have sworn they were working from a script.
The first improv scene was my favourite — Baram’s manner and exaggerated (non-ethnically-specific) accent sent the audience into hysterics, and even Snieckus was wiping tears of laughter from her eyes. For an improv student like me, BARAM & SNIECKUS was a master class in making bold choices, creating strong characters, and using the stage in interesting ways.
At the beginning of BARAM & SNIECKUS, the performers explained that the show’s subtitle, Still Figuring It Out, referred to both their marriage and their comedy. I can’t speak to the state of their marriage, but in terms of their comedy, I think these performers are figuring it out just fine.
- BARAM & SNIECKUS is playing until September 30th, 2016, in the John Candy Box Theatre at The Second City Training Centre (99 Blue Jays Way, 3rd floor)
- Shows start at 9 pm
- Ticket prices range from $15 for general admission to $10 for seniors and students (with student card) and are available online or at the door
Photo of Matt Baram and Naomi Snieckus by Little Blue Lemon Photography