By John Bourke
Canada has a long history of producing great sketch comedy. There’s acts like Kids in the Hall, the Frantics, Wayne and Schuster, Codco, Federal political parties.
The difficulty is that there really aren’t that many places outside the comedy club circuit to really practice and develop the sketch comedy craft. This is where Toronto Sketchfest comes in. Bring artists from across Canada and the rest of the world, and give them a place to really stretch their legs.
On Tuesday, I attended the SketchFest 5th Anniversary Show & Party at Theatre Passe Muraille. This event, marking the opening of the six day festival featured three troupes: The Understudies, She Said What and Falcon Powder.
The Understudies began the evening with the sketch where three old guys sit at the front of the stage and complain that things are different than when they were young. Despite the slightly creaky premise they did manage to not do any jokes that I had heard before, which is pretty impressive. They did have some technical difficulties, and could have used a bit more rehearsal with their projector. That said, they hit all the right buttons, and though you could sometimes see the jokes coming from a mile away, they still make you laugh.
Up next was She Said What?, a duo who started their show with a piece that effectively lampooned experimental theatre that was extremely funny. They surprised the heck out of me with a great Bollywood bit, and made me cringe with some horny teenagers. In a good way or course.
The last troupe was Falcon Powder, who were spot on and absolutely hilarious. I don’t have too many notes for them, because I was laughing too much. There was a great recurring bit about the world ending that had me in stitches, and really pulled the act together. I’d like to see more of them. If only I can hear the line “A constantly shitting reminder that my life is a sham” again.
– The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival plays at various venues across the city until November 15th, 2009
– Ticket prices are a flat $12 across the board, with a 4 show pass being $36 and a full festival pass being $50.00
– Tickets are available online, at the door, or through the box office at 416.504.7529.