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MOM’S THE WORD: REMIXED
By the Mom’s Collective
Arts Club Theatre Company
Granville Island Stage
Sept. 24-Nov. 7
$25 & $45
604-687-1644 or www.artsclub.com

(This is Jerry's review of the original Arts Club production from 2008.)

Since 1993, when six under-employed Vancouver actresses with young children put together a show about their experiences of motherhood, Mom’s the Word and its sequel dealing with teenagers, Mom’s the Word: Unhinged, have played to over a million people worldwide.  Now four of the original moms are back—Jill Daum, Alison Kelly, Barbara Pollard and Deborah Williams, along with Susan Bertoia, who stands in for Linda A. Carson and Robin Nichol—in Mom’s the Word: Remixed, a Best Of the two earlier shows.  The material feels no less fresh or clever and it remains screamingly funny.  I can’t remember an audience enjoying itself as much.  And I was right in there laughing my head off.

From the opening sequence where Daum athletically portrays the agonies and indignities of childbirth to a late routine where two large sagging breasts sing “Here comes menopause, here comes menopause” (to the tune of “Here Comes Santa Claus”), they have us hooked.  Every bit is funnier than the last. With her terrific deadpan delivery, Williams is the comic standout in the cast.  But each of the talented women gets a number of solo turns and their group skits and musical numbers are equally engaging.  The show provides a few dark notes for contrast: Kelly in the first act describing her preemie’s struggle for life, Daum in the second recalling the moment when her loving little girl crossed the line into adolescence and began despising her.  But on the whole these moms treat the agonies and ecstasies of parenthood and the transformation of woman into mother (with the physical and sexual changes that accompany it) with comic aplomb.  The vivid writing helps a lot, as when Pollard describes her laundry duties as “cooking diaper soup.”

Director Wayne Harrison takes over as director here and does a terrific job, while Pam Johnson reprises her busy, colourful set and costumes.  What I said (more or less) a few years ago when I reviewed Mom’s the Word: Unhinged, I’ll say again: Anyone who currently has, once had, or plans ever to have children should see this show for the horrible, hilarious truths it tells about parenting—and for the remarkably astute and talented women who’ve turned messy motherhood into achingly funny art. 

Jerry Wasserman