Friday, March 4, 2022

Millbrook: "Deliver Us From Mama"

"Road trip...!" -- Mama's hitting the road again in the Jones-Hope-Wooten comedy Deliver Us From Mama, currently playing in Millbrook. -- For those who are familiar with the trio's Mama Won't Fly or Dearly Departed, prepare yourselves for raucous goings-on during the play's two acts.

Mama [Vicki Moses] and her daughter Savannah [Karla McGhee] travel cross-country from Birmingham, AL to Los Angeles, CA to surprise son Walker [Bill Rauch] and daughter-in-law Haley [Tracey Quates in voice-overs, though she never appears on stage] for the birth of a grandchild, only to find that Haley has gone to Mama's home; and now Mother and her two argumentative adult children are forced to drive back to the South in time for the delivery because an air traffic controllers strike has grounded planes.

On the way, they face a lot of obstacles: strange car mechanics, hippie wedding planners, storms, barge trips across the Mississippi River, eccentric family in New Orleans, and bossy hospital staff --- all these characters played by a coterie of actors in multiple roles apiece. -- John Chain, Marcella Willis, Logan Preston, Connor Carraway, Pat VanCor, Connie Morrow Carraway, and Pat McClelland manage quick costume changes and bizarre behaviors much to the audience's delight.

Stephanie McGuire directs with attention to the outlandish displays of the characters, and garners abundant laughs throughout the performance. -- Some tightening up on the sound and lighting cues could smooth out the sometimes lengthy scene changes, and a few members of the acting company speak so quickly that their lines are blurred and we miss the jokes.

And there is an important overall message mixed in with the silliness of Deliver Us From Mama: we all need to try to get along better, put aside our self-centered approach to life, and learn to live as family. Not bad advice.