Review: The Carnegie Hall Show (National Theatre of the World)

Toronto gets its own Carnegie Hall show once a month at Second City

It was late Friday night after a delicious dinner and a couple of drinks that I headed down to Second City with a couple of friends. I have seen a few shows by the National Theatre of the World and I knew that the next couple of hours would be packed with laughs. What a perfect way to end a relaxed evening with friends.

This particular National Theatre show is called Carnegie Hall and takes place on the first Friday of every month. The show format is improv meets variety with great special guests, musical talent and dancers to break up the skits.

This month’s guests included the famous musician/actor Bob Wiseman which I think made my boyfriend’s night, Comedian Mike Nahrgang who definitely made my night and an act featuring three cabaret dancers dressed like bunnies in the Easter spirit. There was a fourth, acrobatic, act that my companions and I found less than impressive. It just failed to amuse us and later we talked about whether or not they were supposed to be funny. Anyhow, the overall show is a ton of laughs.

The thing I love most about watching this Canadian Comedy Award-winning improv troupe is that they are such a well-oiled machine. Sometimes I think they can read each other’s thoughts. It’s their interaction and chemistry that make them so hilarious. I find improv can sometimes be very hit-or-miss but this troupe always delivers.

The last skit was an improvised radio play featuring the foursome of Matt Baram, Chris Gibbs, Ron Pederson and Naomi Snieckus coupled with special guest Mike Nahrgang. This was the funniest part of the evening for me. The perfect way to end a show. There was also a fair bit of singing throughout the night which was a great touch for a Carnegie Hall show.

It was pretty much a full house and people were eating and drinking while hanging out with their friends. It was such a fun vibe. There is audience participation in some parts but not in the annoying put-you-on-the-spot way but more like asking for suggestions for their next bit.

If you’re looking for a fun and inexpensive night out with some friends I think a National Theatre show should definitely be on your list.


Carnegie Hall plays at Second City (51 Mercer St) on the first Friday of each month
– Show starts at 11pm
– Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for students
– Tickets are available online or at the box office