FACEBOOK OF REVELATIONS written and performed by Marty Adams, Jim Annan, Lauren Ash, Darryl Hinds, Scott Montgomery and Karen Parker, directed by Bruce Pirrie. At Second City (51 Mercer). Limited run. $20-$28. See Comedy Listings, page 85. 416-343-0011. Rating: NNNN
Most second city shows try to earn laughs. Facebook Of Revelations , the company's 60th revue, gets lots of them - in fact it's probably got the highest sketch-to-laughter ratio of any SC show in years. But it also evokes different sorts of reactions: discomfort, recognition, even, in one sketch, tears.
That latter sketch concerns two robots ( Marty Adams and Lauren Ash ), who meet on an assembly line and implausibly develop feelings for each other that range from love to jealousy. It's amusing and contains a hint of social commentary about how isolating and repetitive our lives have become. But the blackout line, delivered simply by Ash, is heartbreaking.
Ash stands out in a number of other scenes: as a woman whose environmental awareness affects her relationship with her partner ( Scott Montgomery ); as half of a dog-obsessed couple (with Jim Annan ); and especially as a precocious child who discovers, along with her brother (Adams again), why their mother has left them.
Each of these scenes, particularly that last one, ends up in places you couldn't have predicted.
I'm not sure how to account for the company's shift, but it's hugely promising. Veteran director Bruce Pirrie is at the helm. The three new company members are hungry and eager to make their mark. And this is musical director Matthew Reid 's third show with the company. His many surprising musical choices include snatches of Rachmaninov (in that robot sequence), Bach, Chopin and Rossini - not your typical mood-shift music.
There's also a physical dimension to the show, as demonstrated in some sequences that evoke silent film comedy at its finest.
Annan has a silly repeated gag about a bowler-hatted twit. And Adams closes out the show's first half with a brilliant depiction of an under-pressure relief pitcher for the Jays, although he's almost eclipsed by Montgomery's note-perfect play-by-play announcer.
Newcomer Darryl Hinds dominates the show's second half in two great sketches, one a mock interview segment about "bitches" that's simultaneously old-fashioned and contemporary; and the closing musical number, a gospel bit that sends up technology and evangelical religion.
A couple of sketches don't quite work, but Amen, Second City is heading in the right direction.