LOST WEEKEND written by Craig Lauzon, Jamie Lamb, Mae Martin, Dave Tomlinson, Rebecca Northan, Matt Watts and Daniel Shehori, directed by Watts. Presented by the Shehori Brothers and Poor Alex Comedy at the Poor Alex (296 Brunswick) for a limited run, Thursday-Saturday at 11 pm. $10. 416-324-9863. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Hey, late-night toronto, there's a new sketch comedy show in town. And though it's being performed further north than the Second City, the only other place where sketch is seen regularly, its sensibility is a lot more downtown. Think Bill Maher vs. Letterman, or indie rock vs. major label. This is sketch that's raw and sometimes hard to digest - when was the last time you winced at a comedy show? But there's no questioning the talent here.
The two-act 11 pm show begins with a bizarre sketch about a society hell-bent on violence. People are issued kill passes to take out anyone they like. OK, we get the dark satire on gung-ho American initiatives.
This theme becomes more menacing as the show progresses and various domestic scenarios play out explosively. A psychotic man ( Dave Tomlinson ) intentionally fucks with his stepdaughter's ( Mae Martin ) mind; a straight guy ( Craig Lauzon ) throws a hilariously offensive Pride party, called The Fag Bash, for his gay roommate (Tomlinson); and a trashy couple (Tomlinson and Rebecca Northan ) get more than they bargained for when they order a pizza to go with their Canadian Idol viewing.
All three sketches get reprised later on, creating as ugly a look at societal greed and narcissism as I've seen on a comedy stage.
But is it funny? Hell, yeah. There's a dying grandmother bit that works because it's so filled with barely contained polite rage. The homophobia sketch nails the gay/straight divide efficiently. And Northan has a lesbian rocker song (I'm In Love With A Scarborough Girl) that's a classic stand-alone.
The creator/performers and director Matt Watts tap into the frustrations of a generation overworked and underpaid, culminating in the image of an underling who has to chew his pampered king's food before the king will eat it.
The ensemble, which also includes Jamie Lamb and Craig Lauzon , is solid. Tomlinson delivers the strongest performance I've seen him give yet, teenager Martin shows a grasp of character comedy that's way beyond her years, and Northan proves she can play just about any kind of role.
The production's occasionally a little rough around the edges. But what edges.