Treasure Island, 2010
Kelley Ogden as Savannah, Janey Pintar as Hayley, Mitch Alaire as Norleen (Mama)
(Jason Harper Photography)
Big Laughs for Main Street Theatre Works’ “Mama”
by Caitlyn Schaap, Ledger Dispatch
Jul 1, 2018
There’s nothing quite like a good old-fashioned road trip comedy. From the classics like “Vacation” to newer entries like “Little Miss Sunshine” there is something about watching everything go wrong in a cross-country voyage that never gets old. If you’re a fan of the genre, or you are just looking for a fun and up-beat way to spend a Friday or Saturday night in Jackson, then Main Street Theatre Works’ production of “Mama Won’t Fly,” is a must-see.
Opening its 15th season at the Kennedy Mine Amphitheatre, MSTW premiered its first show of the summer last weekend. This bright and fun comedy is directed by Allen Pontes, director of last year’s hit comedy “Doublewide, Texas.” Penned by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, a playwriting team known for great comedies with strong female leads, the show centers on a group of three women on their disaster-plagued drive across the U.S.
The story follows Savannah Honeycutt (Kelley Ogden) who is trying to get Mama (Mitch Alaire) to her brother’s wedding in four days. There’s just one problem — Mama won’t fly. With airline tickets in hand, Mama, a perpetual meddler in Savannah’s life, tells her that fear of flying will prevent them from taking the flight and that they will be traveling to California in Mama’s Cadillac. Joining them on the journey is the bride to be, Haley Quinn (Janey Pintar) a bright ray of sunshine cursed with terribly bad luck.
The ensuing journey takes the three women, and the audience along for the ride, through trials and tribulations from a giant runaway ball of bras, to an Irish cowboy pub in the middle of nowhere, to grand-theft auto, Las Vegas and beyond in road trip comedy full of wacky situations and great supporting characters.
Ogden, who we saw in “Doublewide, Texas” last summer, is a real star as Savannah, a career-focused divorcée with her own accessory business. Expressive, funny and believable in every scene, Ogden is an anchor in the wacky show. At her side is Pintar, a bright ray of sunshine in her portrayal of Haley and seeming to enjoy every minute of the performance. Pintar is also an MSTW veteran, who you may remember from last year’s “The Crucible,” and 2016’s “The Last Lifeboat.”
Rounding out the trio is Norleen Sprunt, or Mama, played by Mitch Alaire, who you may recognize from standout performances in Volcano Theatre Company’s productions of “Wait Until Dark” and “Lost in Yonkers.” Bringing a playful sass to the role, she is a pleasure to watch.
Supporting the three women is a delightful ensemble, all playing multiple roles. Supporting actors Amanda Aldrich, Lee Marie Kelly, Janet Motenko, Brandon Rapoza and Scott Taylor add color and plenty of laughs to the performance playing a variety of bizarre characters from a Vegas wedding officiant with a light-up showgirl costume, to an elderly docent at a bra museum, to a creepy cousin and more.
Janet Motenko almost steals the show with her hilarious portrayal of Essie, the elderly docent at the bra museum.
The show features an abstract set, made of multi-colored blocks with moving pieces that are rearranged to create each new setting. It’s a fun and creative way to tackle a show that moves from place to place so much, with the bright colors embodying the spirit of show, and the actors and additional props helping paint the picture.
The costumes stand out as well, moving from more reserved colors and styles at the top of the show, to more wild and colorful outfits as the trip moves forward. With plenty of laughs, a fun story, impressive performances and colorful visuals this is a perfect show for a summer evening.