I caught a live taping of The Irrelevant Show at the Randolph Theatre as part of The Sketch Comedy Festival. Going in, I wasn’t familiar with the CBC Radio hit, but I was familiar with the live-taping set-up (having seen a taping of The Debaters last year). The focus is on sound, so there is very little in the way of physical antics.
Let me get this out of the way as soon as possible: I wasn’t a big fan of the content. With the exception of a couple of sketches, I found the writing very broad and a little too tried-and-true for my taste.
The content wasn’t really up my alley, but the performances were energetic enough to keep my spirits up. It’s obviously necessary for radio, but I was struck by just how polished and evocative the voices were. Such perfect rhythms! Such great diction!
Mark Meer, Neil Grahn, Donovan Workun, Jana O’Connor (Regular cast) and Carly Heffernan (special Toronto guest performer/writer) are a well-oiled machine and kept the energy up for two forty-five minute segments. Each of them has a specific type of character that they do particularly well and so there are noticible similarities between each of their individual roles.
The show is based in Alberta, but they’ve jam-packed this episode full of Toronto-isms, some of them keenly observational, some snarky jabs. Overall, the humour is very clean and never mean-spirited.
Some highlights of the evening included: a mission-impossible style mad dash for crackers at the grocery store and (my personal favourite) a scene where a man who desperately wants to buy a normal spoon must endure the hilarious descriptions of her wares by the equally desperate owner of an artisanal spoon shop.
While the specific content wasn’t exactly my thing (only chuckles, no guffaws), the audience’s reaction implied this was, generally, a crowd-pleaser. If you’d like to hear the final product, check out the website for the CBC broadcast.
- The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival runs until March 15 at The Theatre Centre, The Randolph Theatre, and the Comedy Bar
- Festival schedule and showtimes can be found here
- Ticket prices range from $10.00-$62.00
- Tickets can be purchased at the venue box office 2 hours before showtime, in person at The Theatre Centre Advanced ticket box office, by phone (647-505-1050), or online here
Photo courtesy the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival website