“Mother of the Year”
Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2009
It may seem perverse to find mention of a comedy show focused on parenting here, at a site dedicated to the musings of the childfree life. But bear with me. There were two major factors that influenced my decision to rock up to the Melbourne Town Hall at 5pm on a Sunday.
Firstly, one of the mother’s in question is Catherine Deveny (or The Dev as I tend to the think of her). Hero worship is too strong a word to describe my admiration for her work, more I recognise the pack she runs with and feel an affinity.
Secondly, it was free. Yes. I admit I was baulking at the thought of forking over hard earned cash to find myself amidst a gaggle of women on a mother’s group outing (and they were there in droves) but a freebie is hard to turn down sometimes.
On stage, each making their pitch for mother of the year was Nelly Thomas, Catherine Deveny and stand up veteran Christine Basil.
Nelly kicked it off with the horrors of mother’s group bitches and concluded with miming her labour from hell. I’m sure it was funny enough to bust the stitches of a recent C-Section but despite her apparent skills (she is funny) this was exactly the kind of routine that the Deliberately Barren attempts to avoid.
The Dev and Christine however did a damn fine job by making me laugh at their children as much as themselves. It’s not as if a routine about a three day labour makes you want to go out and pop a sprog but the second two women jumped the baby stage and dove into the horrors of living with sons and grown adults who won’t leave home.
The Dev won the day of course, quite literally in an applaud off at the end of the show. Her staged contempt for her children is refreshing and somehow inclusive of the Deliberately Barren without even attempting to. The spiel about her upbringing and sibling rivalry, likewise Christine’s inclusion of the downside of a 23 year marriage touches on more accessible ground, that the rigors of birth and the baby business leaves out.
These women do deserve a medal – for their professional skills not for the fact they are mothers. But the best I can do is to say, don’t be put off by the subject of the show, there are laughs to be had.
Even better I left the show more pleased than ever to not have had children!