WALKING ON BOMBSHELLS written and performed by Nadine Djoury, Stacey McGunnigle, Sharjil Rasool, Allana Reoch, PHATT al and Chris Wilson. (Second City, 51 Mercer). Runs indefinitely. $27 and up. secondcity.com. See listing. Rating: NNNN
Second Citys 82nd mainstage revue begins and ends on the TTC. The humour is deceptively gentle in the first few sketches, but Walking On Bombshells soon explodes with laughs thanks to outstanding writing and a first-rate cast.
Chris Earle returns to the drivers seat as director, and Ashley Botting joins as assistant director. If youve seen them as performers you know they are fearless, zany and very funny. They bring these attributes and excellent comedic timing to the staging to ensure there isnt a disconnected moment in the show.
The writing incorporates a mix of themes, and many sketches follow an unanticipated trajectory. Even the handful of sight gags delights. Although some longer scenes run on a bit, and the finale is mostly a rehash, the performers commitment throughout keeps you hooked.
The diverse cast adroitly sends up racism and sexism. In an early office scene, a white, female manager (Stacey McGunnigle) and a Black, male employee (mainstage newcomer PHATT al) get into a dispute over his job termination. The others soon join in with, well… pointed attacks.
Soon after, in a federal prison, musician PHATT al reminds us, reggae-style, of the ongoing racial inequality surrounding legalized pot. And, near the end of act one, a Muslim (Sharjil Rasool) and a Jew (Nadine Djoury) unite in endearing ways.
The show also skewers how technology is taking over our lives, from the couple (Chris Wilson and McGunnigle) who completely rely on their cellphones to stay in touch when he has to go away for a while, to smart software thats just a little too prophetic.
Later, Wilson and Allana Reoch play a father and son obstructing a fast-food lineup in a scene thats deliciously agonizing yet hilarious.
Act two contains fewer but more acerbic sketches, including an opening song about politically incorrect inner thoughts. Then Rasool and PHATT al play a doctor and patient butting heads over weight bias, and the whole cast teams up to cleverly point out how they judge the audience while were judging them.
In standout scenes near the end, Reoch and Djoury boldly empower each other and Wilson and McGunnigle reunite for a mostly wordless bicycle ride. Count on Wilson throughout the show for his brilliant physicality, and Djoury for her emotional range and accents.
Bob Knuths realistic TTC subway set makes you feel like you should fish out your Presto card and its perfectly highlighted by Allan Days lighting. Musical director Jordan Armstrong keeps things on track with her keyboard.
Walking On Bombshells is a smooth ride. Jump in and grab a seat.