The Ice-cream Man Cometh directed by Doug Morency, with Matt Baram, Mike Nahrgang, Lex Vaughn, Naomi Snieckus, Robert Hawke, Rebecca Northan and Ginette Mohr. Presented by the Second City Touring Company at the Second City (56 Blue Jays Way). Sundays at 8 pm. 416-343-0011. $21.50. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
the second city touring com-pany was overhauled a few months ago, and if the current revue is any indication, the change (no reflection on the former cast) was a good one. Along with its new faces, The Ice- Cream Man Cometh features a series of new and classic sketches, many familiar if you've seen the last few shows on the SC Mainstage.
The revue opens strongly with a bit about pill-popping -- a satirical shot at quick-fix solutions -- performed to the song Brazil, the nicely varied cast introducing their talents efficiently.
After a cute cellphone bit by relaxed newcomer Mike Nahrgang, the next three scenes score high, especially a darkly funny and theatrical sketch about in vitro fertilization that draws on our worst fears about neighbours and genetic traits.
Ginette Mohr (substituting for an ill Rebecca Northan) and a bewigged Lex Vaughn have problems with a difficult sketch about a guest arriving too early for a party, though Mohr displays a warm stage presence.
Nahrgang and Naomi Snieckus triumph in a short scene set in a restaurant. Wide-eyed performer-to-watch Snieckus, like a young Catherine O'Hara, is expert at slightly hysterical types.
The next bit, set in a kindergarten detention room, showcases some surreal, imaginative writing and -- rare in SC shows -- a near-innocent view of the world.
The highlights of the second half include a sexual-subtext-filled scene between two wine lovers that goes beyond mere pop-your-cork puns with clever writing, and a classic sketch about a makeout session interrupted by a nosy feline. It's no surprise that both scenes feature Snieckus and Matt Baram, the latter never stooping to mugging but taking the comedy seriously, which makes it funnier.
Robert Hawke, in the truly classic Tim Sims bit about a man taking his morning shower, performs with a vulnerability that adds to his dark humour displayed elsewhere.
Former SC member Doug Morency directs sharply, and Jim Clayton's musical direction always elicits smiles. Loved the Law & Order theme music as a son gets interrogated for smoking pot.
It's a bit of a letdown, though, to close the show with the orphanage musical sketch that was on the mainstage earlier this year. Most local SC fans have seen it, and for the most part it was performed better before.GS