Laughs Abound in Mother-Daughter Relationship
Old Wives’ Tales, now on stage in the lively Lake Erie village of Port Stanley, takes a look at three stages in the mother-daughter relationship. And the laughter of recognition in the theatre is evidence that it struck a relationship with the audience.
In the first scene, we meet the daughter on her wedding day in the 1980s, while mother tries to calm her last minute jitters. Mother acts as a narrator, filling us in her own wedding, as she tries to get her daughter to move ahead with hers. In scene two, we see the mother and daughter meeting in a restaurant 14 years later. Both are concerned about keeping their marriages spicy, and the mother manages to royally embarrass herself. Mother confesses that she and Dad use both A535 and KY, and they are careful not to mix them up. In the third scene, the aging mother, now a widow, is working on her will, with her daughter’s help.
While all this may not sound so hilarious, trust me, both the situations and the dialogue are very funny. And, by the way, leave the kids at home – this has a lot of adult humour. Written by Ontario playwright Kevin Riordan, the play has local touches that let the audience see themselves. When the mother is caught in an embarrassing situation, she immediately says, “I’m a member of the IODE!” They talk about the towns of Quinkardine and Sniverton, obviously in southwestern Ontario. Riordan has a knack for witty repartee.
Sarah Machin Gale is perfect as the mother – she ably mixes the love and the anger that all mothers feel. Madeleine Donahue is the daughter, listening to mom’s advice but wanting to be her own person, too. Mike Petersen completes the comedy in three different roles: He is the long-suffering priest in the first scene, then the very helpful waiter in scene two, and the lawyer working on the will in the last scene.
Mingled among the laughs are some touching moments that might bring a tear to your eye. Take your daughter, or pick up your mother, and head to Port Stanley. You will hear your mother’s voice and all her sayings, and then someday, it might be coming out of your mouth.
Old Wives’ Tales continues at Port Stanley Festival Theatre until August 1. Call the box office at 519-782-4353 for tickets or visit www.portstanleytheatre.ca
Photo: Sarah Machin Gale and Madeleine Donahue in the Port Stanley Festival Theatre production of Old Wives’ Tales. Photo by MG.
Old Wives’ Tales
By Kevin Riordan
Directed by Matthew Gorman
Performed by Madeleine Donahue, Sarah Machin Gale, and Mike Petersen
Port Stanley Festival Theatre, Port Stanley
July 8 to August 1, 2015
Reviewed by Mary Alderson