Party Today, Panic Tomorrow (The Second City Mainstage)

Second City’s newest sketch show delivers the laughs on the Toronto stage

If you’re looking for a great evening out, look no further than The Second City‘s Party Today (Panic Tomorrow), a new sketch revue that’s on until December 30th at their location on 51 Mercer St. That’s plenty of time to check this show out, and I recommend you do.

I love reviewing comedies, but I’ve never actually been to a Second City Mainstage show (only the children’s Christmas show). I left this production thinking I’d been missing out all these years. 

When I got the reminder to see Party Today (Panic Tomorrow), I was in no mood to go out. I’d taken a week of “staycation” and had no intention of leaving my house. Despite my initial reluctance, I had an absolutely wonderful evening seeing this show. 

Party Today (Panic Tomorrow) is a series of quick sketches on topics ranging from daily life in Toronto, to American politics, to dropped sentient fruit. The humour is extremely accessible for just about anyone, neither overly crude nor too tame. I brought my mother– we don’t watch Game of Thrones together, but we enjoyed the show immensely. If I’d brought my teenage sister, I think many of the jokes may have gone over her head, but any adult will find material to chuckle at.

And not just chuckle. I may like comedies, but I rarely actually laugh, and here the ensemble had me going. My favourite parts were the quick, thirty-second scenes that came with some fantastic punchlines. Some of the sketches that got a bit more real, talking about (among other things) politics, news media, and body image, actually have a decent bit of depth to them.

Something that carried over from their children’s Christmas show was the cast having random dance parties between some of the scenes. I guess this fits the title and brings the energy up, but I didn’t understand why the show needed it, and it was the one choice that I didn’t find amusing. There were a few scenes that didn’t land as well as the others, but to me, that’s the nature of a sketch revue and very easy to overlook.

The production overall was very strong and bolstered by great performances. Though the performers each take on a host of different characters throughout the show, each new persona feels fitting for the actor. They feel important to the scene and the ensemble is always tight. And so, each actor feels important to the show as whole and I can’t imagine this production without any one of them.

I was particularly fond of Brandon Hackett, who flitted between a calming presence and hilarious outbursts. Meanwhile Colin Munch had some of my favourite roles; his part in the aforementioned “dropped fruit” bit was absurd and really did it for me. Allana Roech had my favourite line of the night. My guest (ie. my mother) really enjoyed Ann Pornel’s work and was still talking about her the next day. And of course, Nadine Djoury and Devon Hyland were wonderfully funny and expressive as well.

Second City’s Party Today (Panic Tomorrow) made for a memorable evening with accessible humour and lots of laughs. It made me feel like I’ve been missing out by not frequenting Second City all these years, and I’m looking forward to future mainstage shows.

Details

Image of: Brandon Hackett, Ann Pornel, Devon Hyland, Allana Reoch, Nadine Djoury, and Collin Munch, provided by the company