Mardi Bra written and performed by Renée Percy and Jen Radomsky, directed by Lorne Frohman. Runs to October 9, Thursday 9 pm, Friday 10 pm, Saturday 10:30 pm. $12, stu $10. Tim Sims Playhouse (56 Blue Jays Way). 416-343-0011. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNN
As the clever title hints, many of the sketches in Jen Radomsky and Renée Percy 's show Mardi Bra deal with breasts. But don't expect any cheap "tit"-illation.
At their best, the pair deliver smart, sassy comedy that's intelligent and physical yet timeless. These sketches and videos will be as funny a decade from now as they are today.
Their big recurring gag of poking their heads through a pair of giant breasts to play various sets of talking nipples owes a lot to Woody Allen's sperm bit from Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex (But Were Afraid To Ask).
Come to think of it, their sensibility is kind of like Allen's: neurotic, urban, smart. One of the best moments comes in an audio sketch when a woman phones 911 but can't leave the house because she doesn't want to miss her call-waiting calls. (It's much stronger than another sketch about phone operators, the only one I'd cut from the show.)
Tweaked and tightened from their 2003 Fringe show, Mardi Bra demonstrates above all the pair's great comic chemistry. Percy has a zany, all-out quality that evokes everyone from Lucille Ball to Kathy Griffin, while Radomsky, with her small mouth and serious expression, is better at playing the straight role.
A visual highlight comes when the two play a pair of synchronized swimmers looking for work after the Olympics. With the Laverne and Shirley theme playing in the background, they become everything from synchronized stewardesses to hookers.
The Olympics inspires other classic video moments. In one, Percy plays an obsessive-compulsive gymnast who can't stop powdering her hands. In another, she's an agoraphobic long-distance runner who watches the marathon from her window as the race goes by outside.
For clever social commentary, the pair offer up a documentary video in which Percy asks Americans if they would vote for a heterosexual president. The genuine answers are hilarious (seems lots of good ol' Americans don't know what the word means), and the video cleverly segues into a sketch where two pregnant moms' fetuses talk to each other and realize that one of them is gay.
There are a few technical glitches - the lighting is harsh, and some of the timing's off on the staged bits. I wish l could have heard all the words in a sketch about two Jewish ladies bragging about their ailments to the tune of I've Got Rhythm.
But Percy and Radomsky have matured a lot in a year and a half, and they're definitely worth checking out.