Mother’s Day weekend provided the perfect time to open this irreverent, boisterous look at three women’s journey from two blue lines on a pee stick to graduation day. Running at Mercury Theater Chicago’s Venus Cabaret, the musical by Julie Dunlap and Sara Stotts features first-time mom Rachel (Tafadzwa Diener), second-time mom Angie (Jacquelyne Jones), and fourth-time mom Marcia (Leah Morrow) assisted by Maya Rowe playing every role from birthing specialist to principal to Mother Xanax.
Through 6/11: Thu-Fri 8 PM, Sat 3 and 8 PM, Sun 3 PM; Venus Cabaret at Mercury Theater Chicago, 3745 N. Southport, 773-360-7365, mercurytheaterchicago.com, $65 (premium reserved tables $260)
Director Heidi Van has them dancing in the aisles, enveloping the audience with their high-energy hilarity, and making the crowd coconspirators in this tale that omits none of the messy, frustrating, embarrassing, and joyful aspects of motherhood.
Rowe delightfully swaps out wigs, costumes, physicality, and intonations to provide a riotous parade of foils to the three mothers who become fast friends. Diener charms as she grows from naive to powerful; Jones captures the CPA control of a powerful mom who must deal with the shattering of careful plans; and Morrow creates a tired, older mom who thought she was done with all the diaper stuff.
Dunlap and Stotts play to the rule that three times is funny with jokes repeating over the 18-year period of the show, eliciting more laughs each time.
While unabashedly a comedy, MotherFreakingHood! is filled with moments of sweetness, celebrating the bonds of women who help each other through the incomparable journey of parenting.