Search This Site

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Review- My Dead Mother Is Funnier Than You (PlaidBird Productions)

The Fab Marquee review by A.K. Gobble

Who amongst us hasn’t had their share of bad relationships and dates from hell? Especially when you’re a young single woman living in New York City! Well, Katherine Williams, who wrote and stars in her own show, sure knows what I am talking about!

My Dead Mother is Funnier Than You
is a new play premiering at the ArcLight Theater on the Upper West Side, a gorgeous old church reincarnated as a 99 seat theater with beautiful arches and murals decorating its walls.

Katherine Williams as Nicole Reilly, Franklin Abrams as Mike
& Jaye Maynard as Laura Reilly

The play deals with love, death and the death of love, following a young woman named Nicole (Katherine Williams), as she tells her life story beginning with her mother’s death. As Nicole takes us through her journey, we discover a confused and lost girl who is looking for a partner, someone to understand her, someone she can talk to and laugh with; maybe someone to fill the emotional hole left by her mother’s passing. Nicole’s relationship with her family is complicated. Her father is dealing with his own loss and loneliness and her sister lives far away. In her search for love Nicole goes on many dates with a wide range of guys, and with each date, learns a little bit more about herself.

This comedic play is written in a very interesting way, using much sarcasm and dry humor, and although funny at times, I found the story to be redundant. A sort of personal take on “sex and the city” with excess baggage and repeating themes.

The lead character Nicole is portrayed in a very mature and intelligent way, yet she keeps on choosing these losers as boyfriends and it makes you wonder, what is going on? Especially when she shows you the fact that she recognizes their low value, yet still chooses to peruse.

Throughout the entire play the characters seem to be judging each other on stage using obvious physicality’s such as blank stares and eye rolls, as a response to each other, hoping to provoke laughter from the audience but in fact creating a sort of distance which makes it hard to love them and therefore understand their relationships, especially when it comes to Nicole and her Men. The guys are extreme personalities, portrayed as caricatures, which only adds to this difficulty.

The stealer performance of the night belongs to the talented and incredibly funny, Gabriel Silva who played, Mr. Brown, the family’s British poodle, owned by the father. Silva’s physicality was extremely convincing and his performance was focused and committed all the way through, although I couldn’t help but compare him to a cross between, Stewie the baby and Brian the dog, from the hit animated show, “Family Guy”.

The stage was divided in three sections, on the right was the family, on the left was the psychiatrist and in the middle, the Men. As the show progresses, Williams is forced to go back and forth many times between the sections and even run to get to her spot in time to speak, which hurts the flow of the play. The transitions are triggered by light cues, which are not crisp or strong enough and unfortunately were not working properly the night I saw the show.
With all that in play, the audience seemed to be enjoying themselves, laughing many times over the series of events, perhaps recalling their own horrific dating experiences.

The show runs almost two hours with no intermission and although long, I was generally entertained.

PlaidBird Productions presents
Katherine Williams’
My Dead Mother is Funnier than You
April 3-April 13th, 2008
Thursday-Saturday @ 8pm
Sunday @ 3pm
The Arclight Theatre

Tickets: $18.00; , available online at or by phone at 212-352-3101. For more information visit

The Arclight Theatre | 152 W. 71st St between Broadway and Columbus | Manhattan

No comments: