MOM'S THE WORD
Actors Theater of Minnesota; at the Lowry Theater through July 13
When I took my seat before Mom's the Word, I said hello to a couple of very kind-seeming ladies sitting next to me. "So," one of them asked me. "Is it intimidating to be the only male in a room full of women?" Thinking this an odd piece of rhetorical interrogation, I unleashed a slice of sparkling banter along the lines of "Beg pardon?" Then I looked around the room. Of the 50-plus people seated table-style at that point, I was indeed the only individual with a Y chromosome (though a few more dudes did surface as the room filled up). While it may be unsurprising that this six-woman ensemble comedy about motherhood should attract a predominantly female audience, this particular hombre (and father) found the show to be an almost unrelenting pleasure, spiked with an abundance of laughs and insights. The unmistakable tone is set from the beginning, with a raft of scattershot horror stories centering on childbirth, then a harrowing, albeit quite funny, reenactment of the event itself. From there, this Peter Moore-directed production glides along with short skits and monologues, the cast clearly having a good time and generally keeping the tone light but with a welcome and unspoken weight behind the subject matter. Dawn Brodey stands out as a woman vehemently opposed to all things girly, until she has a child and finds herself cooing and mushy with the best of them. Mo Perry recounts the ruins of her past life as an above-it-all sophisticate, culminating in a baby-shit story that any parent will find hilarious because, well, we all have a really good baby-shit story. Or 12. Perry appears in the second act as a frazzled mom at the local swimming pool, eventually streaking across the stage bare-assed chasing after her invisible moppet, and Elizabeth Mary Hawes sketches out a poignant young mother dealing with the craziness of being back in the world after living in, as one mother in the show puts it earlier, a "world with no words." This is light and diverting stuff, enjoyed best with an audience that shares the experience of the female characters onstage—including this particular fellow (childbirth stories excepted, of course).