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Mothers and Daughters
Photo Maria Vartanova

 

Mothers and Daughters: A Musical,  Book by S. Oscar Martin, Music and lyrics by Jeff Rogers, Rich Rankin, Eric McIntyre, Andy Ladouceur, Zach Martin and S. Oscar Martin

SOME Theatre Company, Salt Dining & Lounge

Directed by Maureen Welch

The locker-room humour featured in Mothers and Daughters elicited a fair amount of laughter from the few men in the audience at the performance I attended. There seemed to be little shared hilarity from the female majority. Perhaps this is because they could not identify as easily with the onslaught of crude remarks and gestures, sexual innuendo and detailed references to body parts. In my experience, women rarely (if ever) talk this way, so forced humour of this type falls to the ground with a heavy thud.

Promoted as a lighthearted musical about female relationships, the book by S. Oscar Martin — the same Steve Martin who plays the part of Norman and choreographed the show — presents a bunch of stereotypes.

The occasion is Janet’s fiftieth birthday. We meet her mother, her daughter, her husband, her sister, her niece and the pianist hired to play at the birthday party. As the tense, constantly angry Janet, Jaqui Cadieux spends her time attacking the others, while husband Norman in his words “turns on the mute button” to her rants.

Her mother Florence (Barbara Seabright Moore) is part the rough diamond/part clown of the family. Presumably the clown angle is meant to justify the flashing lights on her shoes and the silliness with the stairlift.

Janet’s sister Charlene (Irish O’Brien) as the flip side to Janet’s straitlaced persona, spends her time bed hopping and trying to prove that she is still attractive to men.

Her daughter, the aptly named Angel (Sharena Campo) is the good girl in the family, busy taking an accounting degree, until she comes home to drop a couple of bombshells on the family. In contrast to Angel, Janet’s daughter Jessica (Alyssa Blasak) dropped out of university and went traveling. (Didn’t traveling the world to find oneself become passé long ago?)

It is fortunate that the music by musical director/pianist Jeff Rogers et al is more interesting than the book. In addition, Rogers is a fine pianist, a relief that makes the long two hours pass with a little more entertainment value.

Some of the movement, particularly from Campo, is graceful and the cast maintains the one-note characterizations, as script and director Maureen Welch require. Among the cast Blasak is the most believable as the rebellious daughter and Martin appears to enjoy his cameo as the henpecked, laconic husband.

The general impression is the Mothers and Daughters: A Musical would have been far more effective if Martin had made a more serious attempt at creating real characters rather than settling for mouthpieces for unfunny crude jokes.

Mothers and Daughters continues at the Gladstone to October 7.

Director and costume designer: Maureen Welch

Musical director: Jeff Rogers

Set: Emily Granzotto Martin

Lighting: Franco Pang

Sound: Ross Murray, Gabriel Soulier, Sam Beausoleil

 

Cast

Janet………………………………Jaqui Cadieux

Charlene………………………….Irish O’Brien

Florence………………………….Barbara Seabright Moore

Jessica……………………………Alyssa Blasak

Angel…………………………….Sharena Campo

Norman/choreographer…………..Steve Martin

Dave/pianist………………………Jeff Rogers

 

Musicians

Guitar…………………………….Zach Martin

Drums……………James Holmes, Darius Moghaddam