BWW Review: MOM'S GIFT at Ankeny Community Theatre: A Beautifully Wrapped Evening of Entertainment
Have you ever wondered what it would be like if one of your family members that have passed on could come back and talk with you? What would they say? Ankeny Community Theatres production of "Mom's Gift," which opened this weekend, asked the audience that very questions. The comedic and heartfelt play is a reminder of how sometimes we don't always know the full story. What is Mom's Gift? That you will have to come to the show to find out.
The show starts with Kat is forced to come home and spend her father's birthday with him. When she gets to the house, she is visited by the ghost of her mother. We quickly find out her mother isn't able to move on due to unfinished business she has on earth, and she can use her daughter to help her move on. Soon people start showing up to the house including her nosy neighbor Mrs. Norquist, her sister Brittney, her father, his girlfriend Trish, and an acquaintance from High School named Kevin. After listening in on what everyone is saying, Her Mom comes up with 4 possible task she needs to complete. Kat then works with her mom to try to accomplish each of the tasks. While working on this she has doubts about her father's new girlfriend and works to find out what she is hiding. We finally find out what the mom's gift is when she moves on to a better place at the end of the show.
One of the difficulties that have to be addressed in this show is how to address the separation of scenes both inside and outside of the house without causing a long scene change. I thought set designer Frank Sposeto III, did a great job of addressing this with the small stage space that Ankeny has. By building a small porch onto the set, it allowed for a separation of the staging area that could be used for entrances and exits to happen from outside without having to make scene changes that add to the length of the show.
While this play is a comedy, some of the best work in the show came in the more serious sections of the show. This comes from Troy Gould's delivery of Dad when he finds out the reason Kat came home, and in Lisa Gould's Trish sharing why she feels so connected to the family. Their performances pulled out the heart of the show. Then there were a few performances that played with the humor in the show and kept the show light. This comes from Barb Wagner's over the top nosy neighbor Mrs. Norquist, to the ditzy Brittney played by Corinn Brush.
One of the more comedic aspects of the show is the romance between Kat and Kevin, played by Ali Kirwen and Ethan Saltz. It was fun watching them because you could see the chemistry the two actors had from Saltz first entrance. I also appreciated how they were able to kind of mirror what the other was doing. Both of them have moments in the script where they walk in at inopportune times. When Saltz walked in as Kevin, it was done in a comedic fashion, but when Kirwen came in as Kat, it was dramatic. The beats of each of the entrances lined up with the other and played into where their characters end up at the end of the show.
At the center of the show is Mom played by Tammy Sposeto. I felt she had one of the most complex roles in the show. Not only is she needing to be relatable to the audience, but for the premise of this play to work, she also has to remind each audience member of the good memories of someone they have lost. She does exceptionally well with this. I enjoyed getting to watch her put the pieces together with the audience as to what she needed to do to pass on to the other side.
Sometimes, a person needs an uplifting evening out. One that lets us laugh and let our emotions out at the same time. Ankeny Community Theatre's production of Mom's Gift does just that. Each aspect of the show comes together as a gift for the audience. Performances continue through October 6. For more information, or to by tickets, visit https://www.ankenycommunitytheatre.com/moms-gift.html
Review written by DC Felton
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