Arts Club Theatre Company
Mom’s the Word 3: Nest ½ Empty by the Mom’s the Word Collective

Dates and Venue April 6 – May 6, 2017, Mon – Thurs 7.30pm, Fri & Sat 8pm, (matinees on Wed at 1.30pm, and Sat at 2pm) | Granville Island Stage, 1585 Johnston Street

Director Wayne Harrison Set and Costume Design Pam Johnson Lighting Design Marsha Sibthorpe Sound and Video Design Kate de Lorme Stage Manager Pamela Jakobs

Reviewer John Jane


Mom’s the Word Collective is back! In this latest episode, the quintet of fiercely loving ladies are now at the wrong end of middle-age and suffering from insomnia as well as the emotional baggage of dedicating themselves to that most selfless of careers – motherhood.

One glance at Pam Johnson’s compact set and one can immediately see that there have been significant life changes going on since the previous chapter. Stacks of cardboard boxes are strewn around the stage and white linen sheets cover furniture.

In the earlier shows ‘the moms’ offered self-revealing good and bad aspects of parenting and all the frustrations of raising a child. But what happens when the kids grow up and flee the nest? Well, just because the kids leave the house, they don’t necessarily take their problems with them (as if we didn’t know that already – right). Parents who have gotten older, children who have gotten older, but haven’t grown up, lack of spousal attention and too much spousal attention are just some of the problems career moms face in maturity.

Mom’s the Word 3: Nest ½ Empty, once again calls upon director Wayne Harrison, has no linear storyline or dramatic arc. Instead the five moms (Jill Daum, Alison Kelly, Robin Nichol, Barbara Pollard, and Deborah Williams) deliver individual anecdotes about their personal experiences. It’s a bona fide ensemble piece, although, sometimes it does seem like a tag-team monologue.

Since the last outing, Barbara Pollard’s character has split from her husband in a bitter divorce. She is painfully aware that her ex has a new lady in his life, but can’t resist lamenting on happier times. After therapy sessions she allows herself to recall the wrongs she did and the things her ex did right. When she divulges the outcome to him over a phone call, she is then able to move on with a more positive mindset.

Without doubt, the bravest performance comes from Jill Daum. Married to former Spirit of the West frontman John Mann who is has early-onset Alzheimer’s disease despite only in his early fifties. Daum opens up with deeply poignant anecdotes throughout the show about the personal burdens of being John’s caregiver.

One of the main reasons the show resonates with so many of us is that we bring our own personal lens to it. After all, some of us have already “enjoyed” a lot of these experiences and the rest realize that they are going to.

© 2017 John Jane