Sunday, April 29, 2018

Millbrook: "Mama Won't Fly"

Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten have collaborated on several comedies [Dixie Swim Club, Dearly Departed, etc.] that have played on various stages across the River Region; another popular local offering, Mama Won't Fly, is currently on stage in Millbrook.

The premise is simple enough: oft-married Savannah Sprunt Fairchild Honeycutt [Karla McGee] has promised her brother Walker that she will travel with their mother Norleen [Vicki Moses] from Alabama to California for his wedding. The problem is that "Mama won't fly", so Savannah begrudgingly agrees to make a cross-country drive in Norleen's vintage car; yet, before they can get started, Walker's fiancee Hayley [Tracey Quates] shows up to travel with them in order to bond with her soon-to-be family.

It's pretty much a one-situation joke that nonetheless plays out in a sequence of more and more improbable predicaments: Hayley is encumbered with bad luck that is visited on them at almost every turn; Norleen and Savannah are very much alike and have serious Mother-Daughter issues; and the sheer number of eccentric strangers and relatives they meet along the way add to the mayhem.

The wacky trio are supported by an ensemble who play multiple roles each in the many vignettes that comprise the two acts. Misty Bone, John Chain, Rae Ann Collier, Carol Majors, Wes Meyer, Cheryl Phillips, Steve Phillips, Terry Quates, and Michael Snead build the lunacy of the trek across America to outrageous proportions.

And the laughs keep coming with every new impersonation. The ensemble company know how to stretch a joke and are fully committed to the goings on. In the three principal roles, Ms. McGee, Ms. Mosdes, and Ms. Quates show confidence in both speech and character; they carry the show and are a delight to watch and hear.

Ms. Majors is a standout among the ensemble for her uninhibited impersonations of the comedy's most eccentric characters: the owner of a bra museum who models a series of spectacularly bizarre undergarments, and the only Las Vegas showgirl-minister of a wedding chapel. -- You get the picture.

Deftly directed by Stephanie McGuire, Mama Won't Fly doesn't pretend to be anything more than what it is: a silly romp of quirky characters in unlikely circumstances who somehow connect with audiences by tickling their funny-bones.