Arts Club Theatre Company
Mom's the Word: Remixed
by Mom's the Word Collective

Dates and Venue 26 May - 23 July, 2011, Mon & Wed - Sat at 8pm, Tues 7.30pm (Wed & Sat at 2pm) | Revue Stage, Granville Island

Director Wayne Harrison Set and Costume Design Pam Johnson Lighting Marsha Sibthorpe Dramaturge Rachel Ditor Stage Manager Alison Spearin

Reviewer John Jane

There was a forgivable delay in starting the show; allowing the many patrons who had been watching the Stanley Cup Hockey final at the adjacent Backstage Lounge time to be seated. The performance got under way in a brisk stride with the five “Moms” (Jill Daum, Alison Kelly, Barbara Pollard, Deborah Williams and Beverly Elliott replacing Susan Bertoia) singing obscenely funny parodies of eighties pop songs.

Mom's the Word: Remixed (Again) is a well considered blend of Mom's the Word and Mom's the Word: Unhinged with a whole bunch of new material added and updated. The trilogy has had phenomenal success since the first show opened at this very theatre back in 1995.

It all started with a series of self-regulated, informal "therapy sessions" that a half dozen established female actors put together when they found themselves in the same pregnant predicament. The happy result in all those exchanges about cranky babies and unappreciative spouses, not to mention the things they didn’t get like sleep and sex, has been an overwhelming international theatrical triumph.

The all female cast move ahead at such a frenetic pace that one might think they had to get out of the theatre to pick up the kids from day care. They take turns in delivering individual anecdotes about their personal experiences of the birth process in a hospital delivery room. Some stories are hilarious, some amusing and one very poignant. Such as with Alison Kelly’s story of her premature baby weighing a mere two pounds that had to fight for life for his life when his lungs collapsed. As he grew bigger, so did the problems of raising him.

Of the five “Mom’s” on stage, Jill Daum, who is married to actor and co-founder of Spirit of the West John Mann, provides the much of the physical comedy, though Barbara Pollard’s ‘streaking’ across the stage totally nude in pursuit of her charge at the local swimming pool brought the loudest laughter (and cheers).

Daum also delivers some of the most cynical moments in the show; such as her hilarious account of buying a “suitable” brassiere for her twelve year-old daughter. In another segment, she describes how her distrust of her son is coloured by her own delinquency as an adolescent.

Pam Johnson’s towering set of bright red wall shelving that houses a diverse collection of colourful toys and sports equipment gives a germane rec-room look to the stage. It was originally used in the original mounting Mom’s the Word: Remixed, but it still works.

Motherhood (and why not include fatherhood), as every parent knows is not just a temporary part-time job. It’s a lifelong selfless career with no pay and few (if any) fringe benefits. Moms are on call 24-7 and rarely get appreciated by the beneficiaries of their labour until they have left home and become parents themselves. It's in Motherhood that this talented cast bring to the stage a natural sisterhood that reveals both the deeply satisfying and profoundly difficult aspects of parenting. They show us that their embarrassments, anxieties and frustrations are the same ours. To paraphrase one “Mom” – “Anger is noisy, but love is often silent.”

© 2011 John Jane