Mom's the Word: Remixed by Mom's the Word Collective

Dates and Venue 24 September - 7 November 2009, 8pm | Granville Island Stage

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

Reviewer John Jane

Every parent, especially a mother, realises that there is no instruction manual for parenthood. It’s pretty much a life-long pursuit of on-the-job training. It’s also arguably the most selfless career that a person can ever embark on, frequently offering as much sadness as gladness.

But therein lies the phenomenal success of Mom's the Word and its predictable sequel Mom's the Word 2: Unhinged. It all started with a series of self-regulated, informal "therapy sessions" that a half dozen established actors put together when they found themselves in the same maternal boat. The end reult in all those exchanges about cranky babies was an international theatrical triumph.

Mom's the Word: Remixed is a conglomeration of the two previous shows with some new material added, the latter of which primarily focused on raising teenagers. This production begins in a lively canter with the five moms (Susan Bertoia, Jill Daum, Alison Kelly, Barbara Pollard, and Deborah Williams) singing ridiculously funny parodies of eighties (and earlier) pop songs.

The group quickly move ahead 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 a premature baby weighing a mere two pounds that had to fight for life for his life when his lungs collapsed.

Of the six, Jill Daum provides the most physical comedy, though even she could not surpass Barbara Pollard’s ‘streaking’ across the stage (in both directions) when her charge wandered off at the local swimming pool. Ms Daum also carries some of the most cynical moments in the show; in particular, her humourous account of buying an appropriate brassiere for her twelve year-old daughter. In another segment, she describes how her distrust of her son is unjustly prejudiced by her own delinquency as an adolescent.

Director Wayne Harrison who is no stranger to the Mom's the Word Collective, keeps the show moving at a slick pace, allowing occasional maudlin elements to break up the comic flow.

Pam Johnson’s set of bright red wall shelving that houses an assorted collection of colourful toys gives a germane pre-school look to the stage.

The all female cast bring together an exceptional sisterhood that offers self-revealing good and bad aspects of parenting. Aside from graphic illustrations of errant diaper pails, discarding dresses that no longer fit and spouses that “don’t get it” – they show us that their collective embarrassments, health anxieties and frustrations are ours too.

© 2009 John Jane