Mother Of The Year
Show type: Melbourne 2009
Festival favourite Nelly Thomas teams up with ABC Radio bigmouth and Age columnist Catherine Deveny as well as stand-up comedy veteran of 20 years Christine Basil to determine just who is the best mother among them. With a baby, three tweens and a couple of grown up kids between them this promises to be a no-holds-barred battle for maternal supremacy.
Sarcastically named Mother Of The Year is a compilation stand-up show with a clearly-defined demographic, which certainly seems to have come out in force to hear the shared experiences. The result, however, is a very mixed bag.
Opener Nelly Thomas seems particularly mild, with a series of weak observations about how children ruin your life and disgruntled moans about the barrage of advice from supposed childcare experts that a normal mum doesnít have the time or resources to follow. Itís pedestrian material on familiar themes, more of a whine than polished gags, which doesnít play particularly well even to this perfectly-chosen audience. As the mother of a 20-month-old, it must be hard to find the time to sharpen a stand-up routine Ė and hereís the proof.
Catherine Deveny, best known as a columnist on Melbourne broadsheet The Age, has older children, so more experience of parenting to draw on; and indeed there are some well-constructed segments here, especially about the inappropriate questions her boys ask. Another routine about her suspicions that her son may be gay starts strongly, but soon plummets into tedious stereotypical references that all homosexual men are fashion-conscious lovers of the musical theatre. Hit and miss material, then, but she exudes an engagingly rebellious attitude.
Headliner Christine Basil, a stand-up veteran of 20 years, proved the ace in the pack, bitching delightfully about her know-it-all student offspring as well as tales about her own mother. Sitting on a high stool, which helps emit the confidence of experience, she produces some memorable quips about the use of the recorder as an instrument of punishment, and her unlikely childhood jealousy of her sisterís leg braces.
But this enjoyable set was not enough to raise the maternal hour above the merely average.
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Melbourne, April 2009