ROBIN’S SHOW REVIEW: The Good Mother
The New Group is presenting the first production of its 2012-2013 season, the world premiere of The Good Mother, a new play by Francine Volpe. Directed by Scott Elliott, the production features Mark Blum, Darren Goldstein, Gretchen Mol, Alfredo Narciso and Eric Nelsen.
In this psychological thriller, Larissa (Gretchen Mol) is a single mother who can barely meet the mortgage on her house in Mount Vernon, NY. When a disturbing incident involving her 4-year-old autistic daughter forces her to face someone from her past, her own questionable actions….or shall we say, emotional baggage…..comes back to haunt her.
The cast is capable, and the beautiful Mol, an alluring presence, delivers a complex performance. Ultimately, we wonder if she in fact a good mother? She loves her daughter, and seemingly does her best as a single mom, but things get complicated. She hires a babysitter who is the troubled son of her former therapist who she might have had a personal relationship with. And, he is making headlines for possible indiscretions with a young female patient. Something goes awry during the night of babysitting, or at least Larissa relates it that way, as she gets out her painted mama bear claws in an effort to stand up for her daughter who cannot fully express for herself, but has shared enough to suggest that the babysitter done her wrong.
Larissa hooks up with a trucker, who endeavors to protect her, including supplying her with a gun, but she’s not into a committed relationship with him. Her old flame, now a police officer, re-enters her life when she claims that a brick was thrown threw her window.
The plot slowly builds…..a bit too slowly…….but there is intrigue, as we wonder what Larissa’s true motivation is. We never really find out, except to realize that she is a troubled person seeking attention for the wrong reasons. And, we hope that she will do the right thing by her daughter and get her life back on the right track.
This production includes Set Design by Derek McLane, Costume Design by Cynthia Rowley, Lighting Design by Jason Lyons and Sound Design and Original Music by Bart Fasbender.
Playwright Francine Volpe’s credits include The Given (directed by Michael Imperioli at Studio Dante, finalist for The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize), Late Fragment (Studio Dante), Sweethearts (The New Company), Giftbox (stageFARM). Her work has been developed at A.C.T., Arena Stage, Naked Angels, Rattlestick Theater, SoHo Rep. Graduate of the Juilliard School, teaches screenwriting and playwriting at Sarah Lawrence College, ESPA, Stella Adler Academy in Los Angeles. Member of New Dramatists.
Scott Elliott is the founding Artistic Director of The New Group, where he has produced over 50 plays, 24 of which he directed, including last season’s world premieres of Erika Sheffer’s Russian Transport and Thomas Bradshaw’s Burning and also The Kid (Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical). He also directed Ayub Khan Din’s East is East and Rafta, Rafta…at The New Group.
The Good Mother plays through December 22, 2012 at The New Group @ Theatre Row (The Acorn Theatre, 410 West 42nd Street in NYC). Schedule: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday at 7:00 PM and Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 8:00 PM, with matinees Saturday at 2:00 PM. Tickets may be arranged through www.telecharge.com or (212) 239-6200, or at the Theatre Row Box Office. For more info, visit www.thenewgroup.org.