Friday, 13 January 2012

Mother/Son by Jeffrey Solomon, Jan 12, 2012 ****

Midsumma Festival, Men At Work at Theatreworks Theatreworks, St. Kilda, Jan 11 to 21, 2012 
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Jan 12, 2012 

My continuing wish for compelling, solo shows is again answered with Jeffrey Solomon’s poignant and funny play, the award-winning Mother/Son.

Solomon plays both mother (Mindy) and son (Bradley) in a narrative based on his own experiences as a young, gay man coming out to his liberal, Jewish mother who lives in Long Island.

Mom appears to accept her beloved son’s revelation but struggles with the loss of her dream of grandchildren and, despite her liberalism, she avoids informing their extended family and friends.

The production – originally directed by David L. Carson in New York – is deceptively simple and Solomon shifts credibly and effortlessly from middle-aged, cheerful but pushy Mindy, to her dapper, witty son, Brad, a sit-com writer.
His acting craft is impeccable as he uses only the body, gesture and voice to inhabit his characters and transport us into their worlds without resorting to wigs and costumes.

Solomon cunningly transports us to bars, clinic, Mom’s house, Brad's apartments in New York and LA, a PFLAG meeting, a bridge game, a hospital bedside and a Gay Pride March.

The intense and loving relationship between Brad and his well-meaning mother that is the core of this play elicits laughs, gasps and tears from the audience.

We experience Mom’s anxiety when she first visits her local PFLAG chapter (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).

We sympathise with her fears for his health and safety and her passionate support for her son in the face of bigotry and ignorance.

We witness her hopes that his life will be happy and fulfilling with his new partner – the doctor she always wanted in the family.

Solomon creates a satisfying and moving narrative arc that takes us on a journey of love, joy and grief with this maddening but lovable mother and son.

By Kate Herbert

Men At Work at Theatreworks continues with:

Negative Action Inc Jan 15 to Feb 4 (Ash Flanders, one of my faves)
Unasnwered Jan 25 to Feb 4
The Year of Magical Wanking Jan 17 -29

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