Fearless. That’s the one word that stuck with me as I walked out of the Arts Club Theatre Company production of Mom’s the Word: Remixed last night. But the five women (Jill Daum, Beverley Elliott, Alison Kelly, Barbara Pollard, Deborah Williams) of this funny and sometimes poignant comedy, come by it honestly; after all, they are real moms.
It is that combination of fearlessness and honesty that makes Mom’s the Word: Remixed so successful. These women have been there. They know what it is like to give birth, raise a child and survive them as teenagers. They know about sleepless nights, the endless diapers and the lack of a sex drive. They are not only that mom we all wish we had, but speaking from both experience and as a blend of mother’s everywhere, it is easy to see why this franchise has endured since first appearing on Vancouver stages in 1995.
Trying to choose a favourite amongst these five dynamos is like each of them trying to choose their favourite child. But if I had to, it would be Deborah Williams whose comedic timing is no less perfect than her ability to switch gears in a more serious exploration of the unfaithful side of marriage.
With its fingers in the both the comic and serious side of motherhood, Mom’s The Word: Remixed elevates itself beyond mere caricatures. Whether it is Jill Daum’s physical comedy as she recounts the birth of her first child, Alison Kelly’s incredibly moving recollection of her son’s premature birth or even Barbara Pollard literally baring it all on stage, we get the good, the bad and the sagging breasts of being a mother. Just like real life.
Pam Johnson’s cubby hole set is a perfect representation of what we are witnessing on stage: a seemingly ordered chaos that permeates through these women’s lives. Not to mention a clever use of a refrigerator that almost becomes a portal to the past. Sound Designer Andrew Tugwell helps brings some wonderfully funny musical moments to life on stage as well.
But beneath all the laughter we can’t help but feel the true heart of the piece: five mother’s unwavering love for their children.
By The Mom’s the Word Collective: Linda A Carson, Jill Daum, Alison Kelly, Robin Nichol, Barbara Pollard and Deborah Williams. Original direction by Wayne Harrison. An Arts Club Theatre Company presentation. On stage at the Revue Stage through July 23, 2011. Visit http://artsclub.com for tickets and information.