One Crazy Frenchman Productions


Director Jack Paterson

Dates 7-10, 12-13, 15-17 September 2006 Venue Carousel Theatre Reviewer Jane Penistan

Jacques Lalonde has written a touching valedictory to his mother including insightful and humourous anecdotes about his close knit family. He relates this memoir of his mother with humour and affection and gives the audience a wonderful insight into his Quebecois family.

Not only do we share the sorrow and heartbreak of the Lalonde family in the tragedy of their mother’s death, we are invited to share their joys, miracles and Mum’s recipe for chocolate cake.

We are entertained with Jacques’s reminiscences of growing up with his sisters and brothers, in a family cared for and nurtured by their resourceful and courageous mother. She brought love, wisdom, stability, encouragement, and joy into their lives and taught them to be generous, self reliant, honest and optimistic. Above all she taught them the value of family solidarity. One popsicle stick alone is easy to break but five popsicle sticks together are unbreakable. Hence the title of the monologue.

Lalonde is a consummate entertainer and performer. His music and enthusiasm get his audiences to enjoy singing and clapping to his songs, while he leads them with his guitar. He moves his audiences to tears and laughter. He recalls funny stories of his aunts, of his sisters and brothers and the neighbours .. .tales of childhood correction for misdemeanours, accounts of miracles and magic.

His mother believed in miracles and magic, and so does he. He might make you do so too. This is not just a paean of praise for one man’s mother. This is a look at the value of human kindness and compassion, sympathy and empathy, the endurance of the human spirit and the sanctity and strength of family values. And it's great entertainment.

In a brief chat with the director, Jack Paterson, he told me how each and every member of the production staff had been touched by the same family anxieties and losses as the author and actor, and how this empathy had made them a more than usually united team.

As an addendum to the show, chocolate cake, made from Jacques Lalonde’s Mum’s recipe, is served to all members of the audience after the performance. ( It’s very good! I had a sample.) What a sweet idea, and you can enjoy this special treat while watching a video of Jacques’s Mum. It’s a wonderful finale to a wonderful show. Don’t miss out on this one.

© 2006 Jane Penistan