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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 4, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 23
My Mother's Arse fast-paced and darkly funny
Arts & Entertainment
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My Mother's Arse fast-paced and darkly funny

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

Wiping My Mother's Arse
Artattack Theatre
Through June 13


A caustic new comedy by a Scottish contemporary playwright Iain Heggie is being done at Artattack Theatre. Wiping My Mother's Arse is a fast-paced and funny/sordid exploration of old age and wounded spirits. It includes a blend of newer attitudes and older prejudices to homosexuality ("poofs" in Scotland) as Derek comes to visit his elderly mother in a facility she hates and finds ex-lover Larry as her favorite orderly.

As directed by Justin C. Lockwood, the four actors deliver with breakneck speed, and you'll have to sit up and pay attention as the unfamiliar Scottish accent washes over you. If you do, though, you'll hear pungent word-punches as the characters duke it out about their individual circumstances. Andrene, the old mother (Catherine Kettrick in a good-natured, cantankerous turn), wants nothing more than to get out of the facility - except, perhaps, to have grandchildren. Larry (Enrique Olguin as a supportive, though far from perfect friend) wants "closure" from his 8-year relationship with Derek, and acknowledgment for his valuable contributions to Derek's life. Kath (Tracy Leigh with her best role in Seattle so far) wants to find out enough about Derek's mysterious past to make sure she can move in with him and make babies and trust the relationship. Derek (Shaun Carroll, a solid new addition to the Seattle area scene) wants to hide who he is, give his mother grandchildren, and pretend to be a solid citizen with a good job.

An ongoing joke has to do with advice given on a television talk show that Larry and Kath avidly watch. The show has influenced them and educated them about how to protect themselves in emotional relationships, which, through dialogue, we learn neither had learned well before. The plot revolves around whether Andrene has money enough to buy a house and move out of the facility, as it turns out that Derek has stolen it to buy his own house to pretend that he's got the financial stability to be a family man. What money Andrene has left has been drawn out and used for Larry's "wee friends" to go party with him, but Larry's just getting back at Derek for Derek's cleaning out Larry's bank account as a breaking-up present.

As revelation piles on revelation, audience expectation of what they'll do gets turned on its head. See if you can guess who will leave whom and where it will go - you're warned that it's not likely to be cliché. All four actors do a good job with Scottish accents and attitudes, which are different from our own. Derek gets to have redemptive moments, rather than be a total prick, giving him the possibility of achieving the manhood he desires. Though, ultimately, he never does wipe his own mother's arse. That's too gross for him.

For more information, go to www.artattacktheater.com or 206-905-9835 or www.brownpapertickets.com/event/96325.

Comments on reviews go to sgncritic@gmail.com.

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