Review: Suddenly Mommy (Perfectly Norma Productions & Red Sandcastle Theatre)

It might be that I am not the right demographic for the show Suddenly Mommy, performed and written by Anne Marie Scheffler. I am not an old or new mum, in fact I am not a mum at all – and after watching this show I am not sure I want to be. This speaks more to the fact that for me Scheffler presented a horrifying picture of being a mother, which judging by the laughter in the audience had to be realistic. If she was out to dispel the myth that motherhood is fun and easy and every woman should do it, then her show was spot-on.

We meet Anne Marie at an audition as she attempts three different versions of a mum; the perfect one, the terrible one and the sort of in-between one. She gets the part only to then confide in us that she is in fact a terrible mother as she is currently on a three-day break from her two sons, husband and stepdaughter because she is so completely exhausted.

She then compares and contrasts her days as a mother to her three days of freedom; being able to attend yoga whenever she wants, going to auditions and doing things just for her and no one else. This life sounds way better than the one where she runs around sleep deprived and unwashed.

We meet a few characters along the way: an old supermodel friend, a straight-talking lesbian and Celine Dion to provide some other perspectives to Anne Marie’s neurosis and then she confesses to having kids just to prove her mother and sister wrong. She tells us how she traded in her bachelorette life to cook for four other people and I kept wondering, why? Throughout the whole show there were very few moments for me that made motherhood appealing. The desperation she was feeling was highlighted by her excellent physicality – the way she just kept dropping on the stage with her exhaustion was palpable and I would have liked to see the contrast of that to the joy of motherhood.

I thought her comparisons of old relationships to her relationships with her kids was really insightful, how it starts off so well, how she puts pictures of them and her on Facebook, and then how it all goes downhill and she wants to leave them.

I also liked the continuation of that theme when she realizes she is raising boyfriends and what a pressure that was but overall I felt that the whole show was a little surface for me. However, as I stated, I am not the right demographic for this show. Other audience members responded really well to the piece.

I also like my comedy with a little drama, and as Anne Marie is clearly a seasoned performer I would like to have seen her push herself a little more, and show more vulnerability. I realize she is playing an exaggerated version of herself but I wanted to see the depth a little more. Her realization of what being a mother was felt contrived and a little clichéd for me, and the structure of the piece got a little confusing. It would have liked to hear about how she reunited with her kids after those three days and the struggles that she had.

I am also sorry to say that I found her costume choice odd. I kept thinking she was a nurse and felt there could have been a stronger choice for this exhausted mother, practically on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

At the end of the show I was still left wondering why she had kids at all but I did appreciate her telling the truth about how difficult it is. Motherhood may be the best role in her life but it is also the hardest – so you really have to make sure it’s worth it.

Suddenly Mommy  is playing at Red Sandcastle Theatre (922 Queen Street East) until October 9, 2011
– Shows run Tuesday to Sunday at 8pm, with an additional matinee on Sundays at 2pm as well as a stroller friendly matinee on Thursday 29th & Friday 30th
– Ticket prices are $20 in advance and $25 at the door

– Tickets are available Online, or through the box office 416 845-9411