The Arts

Soulpepper's 'Night Mother

Soulpepper's 'Night Mother featured image

by Paula Citron.
‘Night Mother
Written by Marsha Norman
Directed by Alisa Palmer
Starring Megan Follows and Dawn Greenhalgh
Young Centre until Jun. 21

‘Night Mother by Marsha Norman is an American classic. The play focuses on a young woman’s decision to commit suicide, and her last night spent organizing her mother to cope with her death. In inspired casting, real life mother and daughter Dawn Greenhalgh and Megan Follows play Thelma and Jessie respectively.

Follows is a brilliant actor, but I still find her voice too low at times. Nonetheless her Jessie conveys determination and vulnerability, while Greenhalgh’s Thelma has the requisite self-absorption. Their chemistry together is powerful.

Director Alisa Palmer has included detailed domestic tasks in her staging that utilize Ken MacDonald’s realistic set to perfection. Palmer has also cleverly built to the final harrowing scene without melodrama.

Despite the strong production, the play flags in the middle. In fact, it seems dated, and just doesn’t carry the same emotional wallop as it did 25 years ago, perhaps because life has become more complicated.

‘Night Mother continues at the Young Centre until Jun. 21.

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