Sunday Night Live: On Tour!
nytheatre.com review by Frank Kuzler
August 19, 2006
For two and a half years, the Sketchersons, the largest sketch comedy group in Canada, have been performing Sunday Night Live, an homage to Saturday Night Live, weekly in Toronto and at Canadian comedy festivals. Part knockoff of SNL, part improvisation, the show is funny and clever and hangs on social commentary pulled from today's headlines and today's neurotic culture.
I saw more than eight sketch pieces the afternoon I attended the show, but that is not to say that you'll see the same ones. The group changes the content every week. The show makes us laugh at the somewhat bizarre and ridiculous nature of everyday living by presenting us with absurd scenarios: a woman who loves her household appliances more than her family; the use of Hallmark greeting cards to replace actual communication; our maniacal obsession with coffee as an emotional fix; and even a well-premised and cautious laugh at domestic violence. Not always necessary to derive social depth, some are just plain funny, particularly the one in which a kid brings home a lion who becomes part of the family.
The Sketchersons member list tops forty (or so I gather from their website); the show I saw was performed by seven, from among a troupe that includes Gary Rideout Jr., Pat Thornton, Shannon Beckner, Craig Brown, Dan Galea, Inessa Frantowski, Grant Cumming, Nikki Payne, Holly Prazoff, Fraser Young, and Tal Zimerman. The show's strength is cemented by the individual performances. Each actor brings a quality that establishes a comedic counterpoint to one another and balances out the act. Thornton as an over-excitable big guy, Beckner as his wife, and Rideout as their nosy neighbor were particular standouts.
All in all, Sunday Night Live accomplishes its goal of being a tribute to Saturday Night Live. Anachronistic in a way, it seems to pick and choose from the divergent and best styles that have come out of SNL over its nearly 30-year run, and strives to be a dream team of sketch-comedy homage.