Whether you’ve got kids, thought about having kids, or can still remember being a kid (a stretch I know!) this musical is bound to get a laugh or two out of you.
With minimal set and costume changes and a cast of only four, with no chorus, Motherhood is not your typical grand spectacle of a musical. The magic of this show rests with the songs, which, seamlessly woven into the script, represent true-to-life, heartfelt images of the highs and lows that inevitably befall a mother.
The opening scene introduces Amy, the overly zealous yet slightly misguided mother-to-be. Cue her three ‘neighborhood gals’, staunch, plainspoken stay-at-home mum Barb, loud and proud single mum Trish and mobile phone slinging, fast-talking lawyer and mum, Brooke. Throughout the course of the show, this loveable clan of mums takes Amy and the audience, along a stimulating journey of enlightenment, waiving any preconceptions about ‘getting it right’; as they prove all the high-tech strollers and top-of-the-range breast pumps in the world are redundant against the priceless quality of a mother’s natural and unconditional love.
With song titles such as ‘Baby Weight Blues’, ‘I Leak’ and ‘Good Drugs’ you can imagine the sort of mummy-in-jokes you’ll be exposed to. But as a twenty-three year old with no prospect of impending pregnancy, I was still not immune to the thigh-slapping effect of the humour. Maybe it was because the characters were so real; they reminded me of genuine people that I know; aunties, friends and of course real-life mothers. Maybe it was the brash honesty that first makes you blush, then muffle giggles into your palms – Brooke’s graphic number about not wanting to ‘do it’ after a hard day’s work, has this effect. Or perhaps it’s the clever reworking of classic pop and musical theatre tunes (‘Grannyland’, anyone?) that inspires the familiarity requisite to inclusive comedy. Whatever it is, you’re bound to find one note to strike a chord with, because Motherhood never strays too far from that universally recognized scene of a mother’s home.
It’s not all laughs all the time though. The same frank realness that functions the comedy of Motherhood, also sets the tone for the more serious moments. ‘When the Kids Are Grown’, starts out as a punchy, get-your-own-back decree to mothers, inciting them to just think of the luxurious life ahead, without the kids. Yet as the tempo slows, the women’s voices become softer and the looks more thoughtful as they imagine life without their little darlings. Beware your bottom lip now when it begins to tremble! The balancing of the honest, self-deprecating humour with these tender escapes into nostalgia really brings the plot full-circle. As Barb, Trish and Brooke rush off home to their kids abandoning Amy to her unattainable shower and newborn baby girl, you are left with the lingering reminder that while at times bittersweet, there’s nothing quite as special as the love between you and your mum.
Drag mum along for some mutual appreciation. Motherhood is playing both evening and matinee shows from Wednesday the 12th of September to Sunday the 16th of September at the Athenaeum Theatre on Collins St.
For more info, visit http://www.motherhoodthemusical.com.au