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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Theatre review: Mom’s The Word 3: Nest 1/2 Empty will make you laugh, cringe and cry

Third installment in theatre franchise still has plenty to talk about

The moms are back and once again making us laugh, cringe, and cry as they candidly share their life experiences.

Originally a collective of six new moms working in theatre, the Mom’s the Word concept was simple: share stories of their adventures in child rearing through storytelling, sketches, and songs.  Mom’s the Word: Remixed continued the idea, with the six telling stories of their struggles with teenagers.

Today, most of the kids have moved out, and some even have kids of their own. The stories in Mom’s The Word 3: Nest Half Empty are about married life, and aging parents.  And although originator Linda Carson is no longer involved, there is a still plenty to talk about.

The challenge for actors talking about themselves is to rise above the self-indulgent, or the risk of TMI, stories better suited for the privacy of a therapist’s office.

Fortunately, these women really want to connect and inspire, all with a barrel of laughs.  Their vulnerability and fearlessness earns them empathy, with enough outrageous moments between the tears to create a tremendously warm experience.

Robin Nichol focuses on her aging father, taken advantage of by shysters. Deborah Williams shares her marriage counseling, and the story of a frozen dead dog awaiting her kids return for a proper funeral. Alison Kelly talks of a child who is unmotivated to move out, and Barbara Pollard tells stories from the perspective of a divorcee and grandma.

The most heartbreaking is Jill Daum’s stories of a husband struggling with early- onset Alzheimer’s. As she shatteringly and simply lays it out before us, she asks who will take care of her as the disease progresses; you could hear a pin drop as the audience held its collective breath without answer.

The serious is interrupted with the funny, including a series of silly song parodies, and an ode to the joys of a pool noodle between your legs. The respites are heartily welcome opportunities to laugh.

Director Wayne Harrison keeps the action moving and with surprising little bits of staging. Pam Johnson’s set adds whimsy with moving boxes transforming from gameshow sets to beer fridges, and everything in-between.

It’s easy to see why Mom’s The Word 3: Nest Half Empty has already been extended and is on its way to selling out. These moms are great storytellers who want to make us laugh. Open and truthful, you feel connected to their lives and stories. You will love hanging out with them for a couple of hours.

Mom’s The Word 3: Nest Half Empty written and performed by Jill Daum, Alison Kelly, Robin Nichol, Barbara Pollard, and Deborah Williams. Directed by Wayne Harrison. An Arts Club Theatre Company production. On stage at the Granville Island Stage (1585 Johnston St, Granville Island, Vancouver) until May 20. Visit for tickets and information.

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