‘From Here To Maternity’ is the loosely – structured tale of two good friends who experience being first – time mums together.
The pair are a veritable study in contrasts. Mik (played by Mikhaela Ebony) is by the book, whose catchphrase in any situation or crisis is, “I’ve got this.” Her odd couple counterpart, Lana (Lana Meltzer), could not be any more laid back, and relies entirely on Facebook forums and internet memes for advice.
Despite the duo’s best efforts, neither is fully prepared for the journey to come. That impetus also becomes the very core of this clever and convincing, physical comedy of errors.
The show has an approximate running time of seventy minutes, and is made up of ten or so episodes placed in linear succession. Its straightforward narrative starts from the time the pair are in their third trimester, to putting their careers on hold, and ending with one of the infants celebrating its first birthday.
Played strictly for laughs, each sketch details the trials and tribulations of modern parenting. Whether it is attempting to unfold a stubborn pram, remembering to pack all of the necessary baby accessories needed for a road trip, fighting sleep, or dealing with competitive rivals at the park, very few stones are left unturned.
Both ‘Motherhood: The Musical’ and ‘Menopause: The Musical’ prove that there is a strong and lucrative market for this kind of venture. In fact, ‘From Here To Maternity’ was partially funded for its initial run last year by an online Pozible campaign.
This is very much a piece where the whole is in line with the sum of its parts. Certainly, where the collective experience allows viewers to breathe a sigh of relief, sit back and bask in the knowledge that everyone goes through the same frustrations and hardships of raising a family. At times, many viewers in the audience on opening night were nodding their heads in agreement. There is a lot to take away from the show.
Ebony and Meltzer are fearless in their shared portrayals of what it takes to survive modern day parenting.
Their playful results, either bouncing off one another or flying solo, take potentially dramatic situations and give them a positive and humorous spin. This combined creativity is accurately scary, and at times, downright hilarious. Without giving the game completely away, the use of two oversized props in particular, make for some original and unforgettable moments.
It is refreshing to see a new female comedy duo emerge on the local entertainment scene as well. The energetic teaming reminded this reviewer of recent Saturday Night Live alumni the likes of Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Kristin Wiig, and Kate McKinnon.
That they have taken the bull by the horns and developed their own show in conjunction with the award – winning playwright, Elise Hearst, must also be commended. As all three artists are mums, one has to wonder if some of the stories are drawn from real life and their own wells of truth. This highly – accessible fusion gives the trio many opportunities to shine.
Rob Sowinski’s set and lighting design is first rate. The oversized scale of certain props, a huge baby mobile with a Miro bent and a carpet covered womb – shaped rise, allow the actors a surreal twist of overwhelm. If this decision is deliberate, it is an intelligent move.
Original sound design and composition by Russell Goldsmith is both mood appropriate and peppy with a lounge music vibe. His catchy tunes are an effective link between scenes as well.
Expert multimedia creates moments of impressive internet interaction, too. Thanks to Pippa Huyn’s outstanding work, several social network – driven sketches and rear projected memes helped to reinforce the show’s broad humour.
Bronwen Coleman’s solid direction kept the action crisp and the pace fluid. My only small concern was that at times, some of the blocking placed parts of the action at stage front. Chapel off Chapel has a performing area flat to the first row, making certain moments hard to catch from several rows back.
Excellent stage management keeps audience focus fully involved.
‘From Here To Maternity’ succeeds as a stand alone venture, and could work equally well as part of any comedy festival program, too.