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Monday, June 13, 2011

Review: 8 Ways My Mother Was Conceived (Fringe 2011)

Reviewed by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

Michaela Di Cesare, star of this solo, is an insanely likable performer. Di Cesare the writer is incredibly intelligent and has a terrific story to tell that doesn't go a word longer than necessary—this show does not overstay its welcome (which, at 75 minutes in a Fringe venue is a feat in and of itself). Simply, Charlebois, the jaded Fringe-goer, came out of this one in an incredibly good mood with bits and pieces of this supposedly true tale embroidered on his memory. Was Di Cesare's mother the product of a virgin birth? Is it true, as her mother told her, that straight men don't read? Is the dark-skinned Di Cesare a true Di Cesare or the result of a faux-pas with an errant milk boy? Finally, is a good story better than the truth?

There is another important question, though: does the story, such as it is told, hang together as theatre? And there is the central problem of this work: there are artistic issues and every one of them can be laid in the lap of the production's director, Paula Sperdakos, who should have told her actor—on more than one occasion—"Be still!" Not "Shut up!"—the talk is too good—but simmer down; stop moving all over the place, tell this terrific saga with simplicity, move upstage so important actions are not missed by great sections of the audience. Di Cesare, the actor, is clearly a huge spirit who needs to be tamed to make 8 Ways great theatre because all the other elements in place for that to happen.

However—and I cannot repeat this often enough—I laughed more during this piece than I have during a lot of Fringe shows sold as laff-riots, I was more touched than during many other dramas and I was smiling when I left the hall.

Show details.


  1. I had a blast. Go, Michaela!

  2. yeah, Tamara, now that I know the laugh I will be able to tell wherever you are at a comedy!

  3. Thank you so much! These are all very kind words.

    May the Virgin Mary bless you :)


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