Tonight’s Fringe adventure took Lizzie and I to the Randolph Theatre, where we bumped into Philip and Darren from The Judy Monologues – like us, there to see Lynne Kamm’s Mum and the Big C.
Written and directed by Kamm, this is the story of Ripley (Elvira Kurt), a single under-employed lesbian with commitment issues who comes to stay with her family therapist mum Donna (Janet-Laine Green), who’s been diagnosed with stage one breast cancer and due to have surgery. Mum is a busy lady – having an affair with married co-worker James and receiving the unwanted attentions of her sweet Italian widower neighbour Tony (both played by Trevor Hayes, who plays all the male characters) – while Ripley manages to hook up with single mom Maddie (Megan Fahlenbock) at a local bar. And we’re talking the suburbs here – Mississauga, to be exact.
Turns out, Maddie is Donna’s oncologist. Hilarity ensues and already flawed relationships are tested.
Outstanding work from this cast. Green and Kurt have the rapid-fire mother/daughter sniping down, and Kurt and Fahlenbock are lovely together in the sexy nervous blossoming of Ripley and Maddie’s relationship. Hayes does an incredible juggling act with multiple characters. Tony is an especially endearing character; sweet and protective of Donna – despite her initially chilly responses – he has personal experience with cancer in that it took his wife from him.
Absolutely love the check your boobies PSA song in the pre-show soundtrack. It serves as a fun, friendly reminder that women all need to take care of themselves and check their breasts.
The remarkable thing about this play is that it’s not so much about breast cancer as it is about people striving to make connections and find love – through the everyday and through adversity. To hear and be heard when we are with those we love. Funny, touching and mindful of the flaws in all of us – Mum and the Big C is a big, sweet romcom.
Mum and the Big C runs at the Randolph Theatre until July 14. For the full schedule, check: http://fringetoronto.com