Second City Gets Dark
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Second City Gets Dark

A new Second City revue, We've Totally (probably) Got This!, has a strong cast and a bleak world view.

The rest of the cast won't let Nigel Downer eat his sandwich in peace. Photo courtesy of Second City.

We’ve Totally (probably) Got This!
Second City Toronto (51 Mercer Street)

There are two key things that make We’ve Totally (probably) Got This!, the new fall mainstage revue from The Second City, work. The first one is the way the ensemble cast is used; the second is its dark heart.

Each troupe member has his or her own distinct strengths, and is given ample opportunity to show them off. Alastair Forbes and Nigel Downer are both exceptionally strong physical performers. One particular sketch in Got This has Forbes swinging over the stage on a railing. Downer dances, leaps, and Jet Li-kicks his way through the show. Carly Heffernan also turns in a high-energy performance. She’s equally able to sell herself as both an overly-sexy samba dancer and as an annoying toddler, totally inhabiting her characters. Jason DeRosse has a strange gift for playing both children and child-like adults, and is particularly good as the son in a sketch that starts off as an innocent family scene before taking a pronounced turn for the dark at the end. Ashley Comeau has a talent for what can only be called angry humour, throwing giant false rages to huge comedic effect.

If there’s one standout performer in Got This, though, it would have to be newcomer Stacey McGunnigle. McGunnigle is a versatile performer who knows how to match the energy of her stage partners perfectly. She’s equally comfortable breaking out the big physical comedy in a sketch with Forbes and Downer; or, in a piece with Forbes, going for the slow burn while playing stalkers who join forces; or trading lines with DeRosse in a particularly verbose (albeit rewarding) segment.

All of these strong performances happen within a framework of darkness. This is a show that’s not afraid to make you uncomfortable. The comedy is occasionally topical—Rob Ford, Steven Harper, and the Toronto Sun all get raked over the coals a few times—but more often, it’s just pointing a finger at human weaknesses. Got This makes you feel awkward about taking tropical vacations in impoverished third-world countries, turns family scenes into macabre parodies, and reminds us that most of our personal victories aren’t actually that impressive. (In one sketch, a woman takes her boyfriend out to celebrate his having been made manager at the Dufferin Mall Cinnabon. In another, two dieters fall off the wagon in spectacular fashion.)

Not everyone will like We’ve Totally (probably) Got This! It’s going to be too honest for some, and too smart for others. While most of the laughs it gets are legitimate guffaws, a few are the sort of nervous chuckles you let out when you don’t know how to respond. That said, those who enjoy the show are guaranteed to enjoy it a lot.