Discount Meat: full value

Accidental Company: two guys who share everything

They say there's strength in numbers. This is particularly true when it comes to sketch comedy where a larger cast offers several advantages: the ability to construct complex scenes with a multitude of characters, a more diverse collective mind to bolster the creative process, and the ability to cast roles according to suitability rather than sheer necessity.

This is why an upstart, and successful, sketch comedy duo like Accidental Company deserves an extra smattering of kudos for their efforts. The Company, comprised only of Brian Crosby and Jordan Kennedy, have taken the plunge and mounted a full length and self-produced revue of their recent work, titled Discount Meat after a suggestion from one of the members of their Facebook fan group. Performed at Toronto’s Bad Dog Theatre, this showcase walks a well balanced line between simplicity and showmanship.

With the loose theme of corporate sponsorship underlining the show, Crosby and Kennedy tackle topics such as the bottom-line culture, infomercials, Canadian Tire ads, as well as a broad range of other comedic fodder.

Performance wise, Kennedy’s best bit is in a sketch presumably titled “Mike Bedford’s big book of ideas” in which he plays a surreally wholesome and high pitched odd-ball who is friends with a magical raccoon hybrid. Crosby shines in a scene about an awkward wedding ceremony where he plays both roles: his six foot tall stature and beard lends him a strangely adorable air as a blushing psycho bride, as well as legitimacy as a crazy and irritable priest.

As for the best crafted scenes of the evening, a bit about a thesis student who plagiarizes the entirety of ‘Catcher in the Rye’ artfully plays with linguistic logic, while a faux reading from the memoirs of Samuel Mcleod hinges on a great device (that Mcleod is prone to fleeing from any remotely significant historical event) resulting in a story akin to Forrest Gump in reverse.

The highlight of the night was a two part scene beginning with an ad parody for a new branch of Toronto’s transit system, “TTC Air”. The parody was middling, referencing common clichés and complaints about transit service, but it did feed into a brilliant bit about the crash of TTC Air. The playback of the flight’s last moments from the recovered black box was a hilarious example of theatre of the mind, and a demonstration of why forcing the audience to rely on their imagination can be both the cheapest and most effective way of adding production value.

Discount Meat is a sure sign that Accidental Company’s next high profile appearance, the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival, should be a noteworthy one.

Discount Meat played September 14, 21, 28 at the Bad Dog Theatre in Toronto. For more information on Accidental Company go here.

By Justin Haigh