La MaMa presents Winsome Brown's one-woman show about her family, filled with love, honesty, and humor.
Obie-award winner Winsome Brown channels her wickedly funny Irish mother, her Alaskan frontiersman father, and her engaging family to tell the story of a simple life. With deft humor and a light touch, she reveals Mary's struggles with aging and alcoholism, her war-stories of a 45-year marriage with children, and the sad grace of her death.
"Such frank and straightforward storytelling is poignant, even if it sometimes leads to a shortage of tension or plot...In other hands, 'This Is Mary Brown' could come off as slight, given that there are no epic adventures recounted here. Yet the authenticity of both the show’s script and its actress is usually satisfying enough."
"Brown inhabits more than a dozen characters, shifting adeptly among them with slight but effective tweaks in voice and stance. There's never any confusion over who's talking; the only nagging question is, what's the point? After opening at Mary's grave, the rudderless script presents a nonlinear grab bag of seemingly unconnected scenes...That changes in the final, powerful 15 minutes...In those moments, 'This Is Mary Brown' blossoms into a fitting tribute to the title mom"
"I didn’t find many of Mary’s quips funny, but the full audience responded well to her abrasive nature...Some fluid physical shifts or perhaps some paring down of characters would have made scenes with multiple characters easier to understand and more compelling. Ultimately, Brown’s willingness to lay bare her mother’s struggles is admirable and her voice both as narrator and lead character carries a dramatic heft that propels her personal narrative."