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A timeout parents should take

One-woman show ‘Mother Load' is an 80-minute laugh-, groan- and cry-fest.

Jennifer Rothacker
jennifer@momscharlotte.com

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  • REVIEW

    ***1/2

    Amy Wilson's comic interpretation of motherhood.

    When: Through Oct. 26. Free post-show talkbacks with Wilson and mom celebrities on Oct. 5, 7 and 8.

    Where: Blumenthal Performing Arts Center Stage Door Theater, College Street near Fifth Street.

    Note: Amy Wilson will perform the first two weeks, then Betsy Stover will finish the run.

    Tickets: $29.50-$34.50, 704-372-1000; www.blumenthalcenter.org.



Are you a mommy with a messy house?

Did you dare feed your infant formula?

Did you get a – gasp – epidural?

If you answered yes to any of these parental pitfalls, you'll appreciate an 80-minute timeout – “Mother Load,” a one-woman laugh-, groan- and cry-fest that will absolve you of any Mommy Guilt.

Television and movie actress Amy Wilson wrote the script relying on the funniest and most poignant episodes she has experienced raising three children ages 5 and younger.

Although the scenes are from Wilson's life, every parent can nod their head in recognition as she recounts sibling skirmishes, the perils of the preschool hunt and all the other inadequacies moms and dads suffer every day.

Wilson delivers her monologue in typical mom dress – jeans, cotton shirt, sneakers – while tidying up a living room littered with toys, shoes and laundry.

She immediately announces: “I suck at this.”

Good mothers don't feed their kids dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets three times a week, she laments. They make sure their kids' hands are washed. They read educational books 30 minutes nightly.

That's a primary theme of the show: Moms today cannot measure up. They can't meet the expectations of “What to Expect When Expecting,” the bible of child-rearing. They can't replicate the perfectly dressed, big-smiled photos of happy families that fill parenting magazines.

But oh, how hard we try.

It starts when trying to get pregnant. No caffeine. Sex carefully calculated to take advantage of the basal body temperature. Herbal teas to promote fertility.

And it continues on into the birth, breastfeeding, birthday parties and bonding with other moms.

Wilson has a blast laying out her failures. She shows us her “muffin top.” (If you have to ask, you just need to take your flat stomach to a different play.)

In one particularly hilarious bit, Wilson replicates an aerobics class she took. Never has a grapevine looked so funny.

At 80 minutes long, “Mother Load” is the perfect night out for time-strapped parents. And we intentionally say parents – plenty of dads attended a recent performance and seemed to enjoy it as much as the women. Played in the Blumenthal's new Stage Door Theater, the atmosphere is convivial, fueled in part by the adult beverages allowed in the cozy theater.

What's best about “Mother Load” is that it makes you happy to be a mom or dad. With the show's poignant ending, you'll want to go home and hug your kids.

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