Saturday, April 12, 2008

'My Dead Mother is Funnier than You' is Drop Dead Good

The subject of death is rarely presented realistically in theater, yet Katherine Williams' My Dead Mother is Funnier than You does this heartbreak justice in her tale of a serial dater whose mother's passing touches every aspect of her emotionally raw life. Williams' dead-on portrayal of Nicole poignantly points out the humor, horror and hysterical in death-too-soon, and stays true to the trauma that comes after someone beloved passes unexpectedly. And for this teenager and the woman she becomes, the loss of mama leaves quite a mark.

Her dead mother may be funnier than you, but nothing is funnier than dating in New York City. Nicole is deadpan hilarious as she trollops through man after man, linked to them by their own earlier loss of a loved one, finding immediate intimacy with emotionally unavailable Lotharios. Fortunately, the cast is to die for, and her lengthy list of love interests are fully fleshed and never trite. Our heart breaks for Nicole as she is left over and over by men not her equal, played to perfection by Franklin Abrams, Dan Almekinder, Michael Scott King and Jeff Stevens. All are mirrored superbly by her forever-mourning father, portrayed by the stellar Joseph Callari. It is enough to make a gal delete her Nerve profile.

Nicole is advised by a loveline of insightful armchair philosophers - older sis Laura (played with wry perfection by Jaye Maynard), kindhearted, cursing shrink Dr. Garcia (the deliciously empathic Todd Conner), the hell-bent yenta Jessica (blond and versatile Makenzie Caine) and her father's eloquent, devoted poodle Mr. Brown (played by Gabriel Silva, whose take on a love smitten lapdog is hump-o-licious).

Williams' script is deftly directed by Clyde Baldo, who does a fine job balancing life's rotten, joyous curves, taking us on a seesaw ride that is loss, love and personal conflict. I was expecting a laugh-a-minute joy ride of irreverence, and while I did guffaw at this wonderfully written play, I got so much more than I bargained for. Death is a bitch, but it doesn't have to turn you into one.

Please, please extend this run. Playing until Sunday, 4/13 at the ArcLight Theater at 152 W. 71st St. Tix $18, available at

1 comment:

Kath said...

Tis long overdue but thank you. Thank you so much for coming to the show and for your lovely review.

All the best,