Review: MILF Life Crisis (Perfectly Norma Productions)

Big laughs at MILF Life Crisis, now playing on the Toronto stage

If I hadn’t committed to reviewing Anne Marie Scheffler’s one -person show MILF Life Crisis at the Red Sandcastle Theatre on Wednesday evening, I wouldn’t have gone out. It was a crummy day and I really didn’t want to do anything. That would have been a shame because I would have missed seeing a very talented woman in a very funny show.

Life can be pretty confusing when you’re ‘a certain age’ and newly divorced with two young children. Do you hang on to the fantasy that you’ll get back together with your ex? Do you start dating? How does dating even work? What about sex? After the first date? Or the second date? What is Tinder? Scheffler deals with these questions and more in what may or may not be an autobiographical show.

As a writer, Scheffler hits the absurd perfectly. For example, when one of her friends says that she should get advice from a professional, Scheffler replies that she has: she saw a psychic.

The scene with the psychic in particular is great. The cards are obviously bad, and Scheffler keeps asking what they mean. The psychic (Scheffler herself) replies that the ‘acupuncture’ card means that she should consider holistic medicine to help, and that the ‘fire insurance’ card means that she should check to make sure her fire insurance is up to date. I love that kind of humour.

There are three main characters in the piece: Scheffler and two of her friends, all played by Scheffler with a shift in her voice and body language. First, Scheffler becomes Kendra, a 53 year old woman who was married for 32 years and who has discovered the joy of being single. And of Tinder. Her voice saying “Anne Marie, Anne Marie” is going to stay with me for a long time.

Terry, meanwhile, is pretty much the opposite of Kendra: a no-nonsense dyke who tugs Scheffler back to reality when her head is lost in romantic clouds.

The show isn’t all belly laughs, though. There’s an undercurrent of sadness, anger, and pain which makes the show seem real. There’s also character progression as Scheffler changes from a fairly timid housewife without much self-awareness to a strong, single woman taking care of herself and her kids.

I had a couple of quibbles about the show, but I need to qualify them. The audience was very small on Wednesday. It’s hard to get a sense of the energy with such a small group.

There were three parts of the show that I thought didn’t serve to advance it, even though they were funny. They were all fantasies: a YouTube type show (Mothers are Lovely Incredible Fantastic), a non-explicit plumber porno scene, and a MILF/cougar fantasy scene. The show would have been tighter without them, but they might work better with a bigger audience.

I saw MILF Life Crisis by myself and really enjoyed it, but it would have been better to have seen it with someone. This is the kind of show that you want to talk about afterwards. You want to be able to say, “Oh my god, when Kendra said…” and laugh all over again.

There are three more performances of this show left, so grab a friend, or three or four friends, and go see it. You’ll be glad you did.

Details:

Photo of Anne Marie Scheffler by Tim Leyes

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