Templeton Philharmonic / 2 Humans Theatre Centre, Toronto ON, March 3
Published Mar 04, 2016Sketch duos Templeton Philharmonic (pictured) and 2 Humans were both unexceptional for opposing reasons. Though each troupe provided occasional fun moments, the show as a whole was mediocre.
Both members of 2 Humans were genuine and charming in their delivery, but their writing was nothing special. A good deal of their scenes relied on extensive physical jokes, many of which went on for too long. Namely, their sketch in which someone repeatedly failed to put their mouth around a straw was more tired than absurd, as was their scene in which a character acted out an extensive argument with their hands. Both sketches would have been easily improved by cutting 30 seconds to a minute of their excessive act-outs.
The only major exception to 2 Humans' unremarkable material was their entertaining opening sketch, which had a similar sense of humour to the American version of The Office. In the scene, the male half of the troupe performed an ode to his female counterpart that quickly turned insulting in a way that was reminiscent of Michael Scott. In addition, the character insisted that the subject of his humiliating poem remain seated with a delivery that was strikingly similar The Office's Zach Woods in his role as Jared on Silicon Valley. His frantically nervous yet fervent insistence that she obey him in combination with his paper that said "SHE SITS" in large letters was very funny.
Sadly, the show was mostly downhill from there. Templeton Philharmonic's comedy was like Brechtian theatre without the intellectual stimulation: distinctive but overwhelmingly repulsing. With the exception of their sketch that involved a spot-on Julie Andrews impersonation and the delightfully surreal jumbling of the lyrics to "My Favourite Things," their set was just a string of annoyingly insincere characters.
Templeton Philharmonic's bit in which a hammy sitcom was revealed to be a hellish Truman Show-esque situation was unique, but it was unfunny and felt very try-hard. Likewise, their scene in which they played two Americans trying to convince their audience that they could fix all of their troubles with salads was founded on a good premise, but it suffered from the same problem. Though it featured a Todd Glass-like barrage of sharp lines like "Snap out of it with snap peas!" and "Beat the postpartum blues with blue cheese!," the haste and pretence of their delivery was too alienating to let the audience enjoy the writing. Worse yet, their opening jokes about the Oscars were as safe and unsatisfactory as most award shows' humour.