BWW Review: CALM MOM at The New York International Fringe Festival
"Chaos plus Hysteria Equals Love," one of the clever and melodic songs of Gaby Gold's one-woman musical in the Fringe Festival, pretty much sums up the tone of her trip down memory lane. Being a mother myself, I could genuinely relate to her trials and tribulations of being a young mother, especially the agony of having a child come down with an unexplainable illness. Rather than fall into clichés, Ms. Gold has crafted an inner monologue in which she is reminded of her own upbringing with a mother who had to adjust to a mother with issues of her own.
Ms. Gold has stage presence in spades and displays a warm, powerful voice. She is able to switch back and forth between the characterization of her mother, with her eccentricities and overly dramatic persona, to her own honest portrayal of being a new mom and all the adjustments she has to make. She never condescends, but conveys the struggles and humor that lies in raising a child with unknown health issues.
Directed effortlessly by Theresa Gambacorta, I never felt like Ms. Gold was "acting." She was one with all the various characters and voices she inhabits - from her British mannered mother to her husband, she is able to weave in and out of her childhood memories to present day.
Even though the theatre itself is a "black box" layout, Ms. Gold inhabits the stage with such energy, that one can imagine the scenic design behind her. Backed by Steven Gross as her musical director and arranger and collaborations on the music with Paul Fujimoto, Mitch Lance and Dina Pruzhansky, Calm Mom has a complete cohesiveness with the slow ballads to the uptempo patter type songs.
Ms. Gold's story is completely engrossing and hopeful. Even while going through the ultimate heartbreak of not knowing why her young son is sick, she keeps being a "Calm Mom." I look forward to seeing future incantations of this show and highly recommend it for being a genuinely theatrical experience.
Calm Mom was Part of The New York International Fringe Festival - FringeNYC
A production of The Present Theatre Company
Ran from August 12th - 28th
Info - visit www.FringeNYC.org