Review: The Unconventional Holiday Revue (The Second City)

Second City is back with their Unconventional Holiday Revue

It’s midway through November, so that can only mean it’s time for the holidays and therefore holiday theatre! The Second City has just opened their Unconventional Holiday Revue and while it’s not the strongest outing from the company in recent years it is still a solid comedic showcase.

The Unconventional Holiday Revue isn’t a groundbreaking show; if you’ve seen one before from Second City you know you’re going to be seeing a mixture of sketches and audience-involving improvisational comedy. But if it isn’t broken why fix it, right? This is a format that has worked for a long time and there’s something comfortable about walking into the Second City and knowing exactly what I’m going to be getting.

That comfort unfortunately does breed a bit of expectation and both my plus one Sam and I found ourselves feeling a little let down by this year’s proceedings. It’s not that the show was bad, far from it. The show has some solid sketches and the cast are all brimming with talent, but after covering Second City so many times this show felt like it didn’t have quite the punch we’ve come to expect from the company.

Part of this might be due to the subject matter of a Holiday Revue. While there were solid theme-appropriate sketches (Sam’s favourite of the night was one involving the Krampus taking over the mall Santa set up) the stronger ones were often tangentially related or not at all, like song dedicated to ordering delivery or a sketch with a talking computer and printer.

On the improv side of things there’s some solid work being done (as is the expectation with Second City) and the show puts some emphasis on that side of the Revue with everything from Turducken to A Christmas Carol getting riffed on through audience participation and the comedic talents of the cast.

One issue Sam and I faced that falls very much within the Your Mileage May Vary category is the show’s length. Running at only 90 minutes the program felt very bite sized and we had been hoping for something a little more substantial, but for others that 90 minutes might be just right, creating an easy to watch and fast evening out.

While The Unconventional Holiday Revue isn’t the pinnacle of Second City’s output this year there’s still some quality material being showcased and if you’re looking for some seasonal theatre but want to avoid the clichéd options, Second City is a solid choice for your evening’s entertainment.


Photo provided by company.