Monday Magazine contributor
The set is a basement filled with boxes; the kids are moving out, but leaving some of their gear behind. Or maybe they are moving back in – both scenarios are cause for varying emotions.
Any parent will identify with the situation in this, the most recent of the Mom’s the Word series of plays about motherhood. Written and performed by the original women – Jill Daum, Alison Kelly, Robin Nichol, Barbara Pollard and Deborah Williams – Mom’s the Word 3: Nest 1/2 Empty was wildly popular with the opening night audience at the Belfry. Clearly, many of us have been there.
The writing is clever, the acting is good and even the dubbed singing adds the right touch. All of that should make for a great show and almost does; what stops it from being excellent entertainment is the vulgar language and the gratuitous bawdiness of the actions.
Yes, humour can make even the most wrenching of situations manageable, but coarse humour does not make it more enjoyable. There is also a scene where one of the larger ladies in the cast runs across the stage completely unclothed. OK, she is chasing a naughty grandchild, but the actual nudity might have been overdoing it a tad.
There are poignant moments here, when the play focuses on various forms of parenting relationships. One well-done example comes when an aging father is subject to scams, can no longer live alone and the middle-aged daughter is forced to put him in a home where he can be looked after. Another is the portrayal of the real-life scenario of Daum, who became caregiver to husband John Mann, who is suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s.
Because all the plays in the series are based on the truth about these women’s families, one might pause to wonder how the grown children feel about the way they are portrayed. One can hope that their sense of humour is equal to the occasion.
Mom’s the Word 3 runs at the Belfry until Aug. 12. Call 250-385-6815 for tickets or visit belfry.bc.ca.
(Viewer discretion is advised for this performance, for language and nudity)