I saw My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m in Therapy at the Bathurst Street Theatre, a venue that I love, in Toronto on Wednesday night. It was a rainy, windy evening but I was prepared to brave it as I was really excited to see this show. It has toured nationally and internationally in over a 100 cities to rave reviews.
Unfortunately, I was gravely disappointed. However, in all fairness, my age group is definitely not the target audience for this show. Most of the attendees were at least 50 years old and they all laughed hysterically throughout the show.
The acting is amazing. It’s a one-man, comedy stand-up show starring Tony Award-winning actor, Paul Kreppel, who is fantastic. His comedic timing is excellent, his impressions and accents are spot-on and his seamless transitions from one character to another is quite impressive. It was the material that I found to be a little tired and boring. The jokes are all very cliché that we’ve all heard a million times before. I don’t think I laughed once and nor did my show partner or the younger couple seated beside us. The rest of the audience however, couldn’t contain themselves.
The other component that really bothered me was the lighting. The entire stage was so brightly lit, it felt like someone had turned on a fluorescent tube-light, and I could see every single audience member. There was none of the usual mood or atmosphere that I have come to expect at theatre shows. I find lighting to be an important component of a show as I feel like the darkness helps you focus and creates an intimate experience between actor and viewer.
I have to say that Paul is so sweet and charming and when he explained how this show began as a little stand-up in a nursing home it made complete sense to me. After the show he stood by the door when people were leaving and thanked everyone individually for coming. Audience members were so happy to shake his hand and congratulate him, that I couldn’t even make eye contact and hid behind my show partner as we left. I’m not sure why I felt so guilty because as I said, I thought Paul was truly fantastic.
The overall message is about family and what it is like to grow up with two very different cultures and all the stereotypes that go with it; I just didn’t think it was funny. I couldn’t help but think that my mom would have enjoyed this production and would probably tell all her friends to go see it. If you’re in that demographic and enjoy some light unoffensive humour, clichéd or not, you’ll likely enjoy it far more than me.
– My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m in Therapy is playing at Bathurst Street Theatre (763 Bathurst Street) until January 1, 2012
– Show runs: Wed at 2pm & 7pm; Thurs and Fri at 8pm; Sat at 2pm and 8pm; Sun at 2pm & 5:30pm.
– Ticket prices are Wed & Thurs – $51.50; Fri, Sat & Sun – $56. (Discounts for groups of 15 or more.
– Tickets available at Ticketmaster at 1-855-985-ARTS (2787) or online at www.italianjewish.ca