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Thursday Theatre Review: Tazed and Confused

Tazed and Confused is Second City's current revue show. As expected, it made me and Matt, my show-partner, laugh a great deal.

When I asked Matt what he thought of the show overall he said "it was a hilarious show that effectively poked fun at being an early 30s Torontonian." And he's right. I felt a bit like they had written this show specifically for me and a bunch of my friends. That said, if you don't fit into that demographic, don't worry, it appeals to all ages. The audience ranged in ages from about fourteen to about sixty-five, and everyone was busting a gut.

Matt and I agreed that the longer skits ended up feeling a bit flat, I believe Matt's exact words were "The longer skits got boring and dragged out." I think that in this kind of medium we don't become invested in the characters so we don't care about them enough to sit through a longer scene. One scene in particular that felt never ending was a scene featuring an elderly couple. I kept willing it to be over, but to no avail. This of course is just one negative among many positives, and Matt did follow up his above statement with "but it was a nice break from laughing hysterically." Personally, I don't need the breaks from hysterical laughter, but it's good to see he was looking on the bright side.

The whole production was pulled together into a great package, the direction, the on-stage energy, the live music, the technical aspects, it all worked. One of the things that I was most impressed by in the production was how they dealt with a challenging situation. For some reason there was a tiny audience. In fact, at the end of the show, before the open improv portion that takes place after every show, Jim Annan told the audience he thought we were the smallest crowd they've ever had. A small audience can be the death of a show, I have experienced it from both on stage and as an audience memeber, but in this case as an audience member I didn't even notice it until Annan pointed it out.

When you're on stage you get energy from the crowd you're performing in front of, that's one of the amazing things about theatre, as an audience member you're a participant, not just a passive observer. This is even more true for a sketch comedy show where audience reaction can make or break a joke. So, how did this group handle the small audience? The company handled it amazingly well. The energy was up from the opening of the show and held right through to the end, which of course was infectious to the audience, who returned the energy with vigor, enthusing the actors and so on, and so on. It was a real testament to the talent of the folks on stage.

The entire company was wonderful, but there were two folks who really stood out, especially when on stage together. Darryl Hinds and Marty Adams had such wonderful energy and chemistry together that they stole the show on more than one occasion.

I think it's safe to say that Tazed & Confused gets a hearty recommendation from both Matt and me. Matt also told me that he felt it was a lot better than the last Second City revue (Facebook of Revelations). Obviously you're not going to walk out of there with some poignant life-lessons under your belt, but you will walk out quoting lines like "I'm reading the Financial Post, the monkey is reading the Sun" and snorting with laughter (don't worry, once you see it in context it is much funnier and slightly less absurdest)

So, grab your friends and head to Second City to sit with a cocktail of your choice and laugh your ass off. It's an excellent way to spend an evening.

- Tazed and Confuzed plays until June 29 at The Second City (51 Mercer St. at Blue Jays Way)
- Tuesday to Thursday at 8pm - $23.00, Friday and Saturday at 8pm & 10:30pm - $28.00, Sunday at 7pm - $23.00
- Call for more information: 416-343-0011

Photo of Darryl Hinds, Marty Adams, Ashley Botting, Jim Annan, Karen Parker and Leslie Seiler by Bob Knuth

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