Review: Falcon Powder, Vest of Friends (2016 Toronto Sketchfest)

Photo of Kurt Smeaton, Scott Montgomery and Jim Annan from Falcon Powder.Toronto sketch troupes Falcon Powder and Vest of Friends deliver laughs at the Theatre Centre

Taking over Toronto’s Theatre Centre, the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival attracted a lively audience during last night’s line-up. On the playbill were two local sketch comedy groups, Falcon Powder and Vest of Friends, each veteran acts that boast their share of accolades in the world of Canadian comedy.

Falcon Powder started the evening with a sketch-inspired scenario reminiscent of Groundhog Day. Breaking up the usual show format of a few different, unrelated sketches, the group humourously set up the notion that they’ve been stuck in the same set for nearly 200 performances. Same show, same audience, including a man in the front row who was being accused of not laughing at any of their jokes for all 200 shows.

Watching the guys in Falcon Powder is like watching a very well-oiled comedy machine. Jim, Kurt and Scott are clearly comfortable performing together and they definitely know how to pace themselves. There was something very calm, cool and collected in their performance, which made the moments that required more explosive energy and dynamics pack an even bigger punch.

Their material runs the gamut from the absurd to a little bit musical, and they’re able to bring together some delightful elements like science fiction and wizardry, or potato chip salesmen and gangster rap (sort of). Though I did feel like the beginning of their set had some stuttering moments, by the end I was laughing pretty hard and rooting for them to succeed in getting out of their time loop.

Following up with Vest of Friends proved to be a nice contrast of different sketch styles. In a festival setting where it’s easy to see as many as two or more shows a night, it sometimes gets hard to notice the major differences between groups aside from their chosen subject matter.

The four gentlemen of Vest of Friends, and I call them gentlemen mostly because they do perform in vests, are a lively crew of comedians who like to purposely offend others’ sensibilities. They had a great energy that seemed almost boundless, and they launched into each sketch with gusto. I found a lot of their sketches focused more on physical comedy, from use of props and costumes to interpretive dance, which made it seem more like they were having a genuinely good time than just putting on a show.

My date and I agreed that their brand of humour steered mostly toward the ‘dude’ variety, with a hilariously graphic nod to Hooters and a seductive camping excursion gone awry. However, Marc, Evan, Morgan and Reid are each charming enough that it makes up for it, in case that’s not really your type of comedy.

There are still three days left to enjoy some great Canadian sketch comedy, so if you’re still looking for weekend plans I highly recommend picking up a sketch show (or two).


Photo of Kurt Smeaton, Scott Montgomery and Jim Annan from Falcon Powder provided by the company.