20 January 2012

Review: Mother/SON

Midsumma 2012
Jeffrey Solomon and Theatre Works
11 January 2012
Theatre Works
to 21 January

Theatre Works's Men at Work Midsumma season kicked off on an unseasonal chilly night with a warming tale of family love and the question of why anyone would answer the phone if their mum rang while they were having sex.

Mother/SON has toured the US and the UK and been seen in the Phillipines and Sri Lanka. Written and performed by Jeffrey Solomon, it's a mostly autobiographical story of his coming out to his mother and how both learnt to accept the other's imperfections and continue to love each other regardless. Solomon plays both roles.

Set in the 90s, it's a time of phones with cords and answering machines, when a kd lang CD was compulsory for any date and a skin lesion terrified the sexually active.  Only-child Bradly moved to LA to write for a sit-com and has many phone conversations with his over-loving Jewish mother in Long Island. Having provided neither a wedding nor grandchildren and not wanting the home-shopping channel gifts she gets him, he finally tells her the truth: that he's "that kind of gay".

Filled with sharp wit and delicate observation, this story is much more than a coming out drama and its heart is Solomon's understanding of his mother's initial difficulty in accepting her gay son, and his honest portrayal of a middle age, bridge-playing woman who's scared of the holes she was born with and knows that Jews must never laugh at people who are different.

While their parent-child bond is closer than comfortable for some of us, it's a story about why parents should always show their children that they love them, no matter how grown up they are or what the neighbours think.

Take your mum.

This review originally appeared on AussieTheatre.com

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