By Jay Menard
Meghan Brown, early on in her one-woman show I Sound Like Mom, makes an offhand comment about her acting ability, suggesting that some critics may not have held her such high esteem. Well, with her latest Fringe venture, if Brown isn’t being completely open, honest, and exposed to the world, then she has nothing to worry about from the critics because she’s clearly the greatest actor we’ve seen in a long time.
Simply put, I Sound Like Mom is Brown sticking a pen in her heart and spilling it out onto the page. And then she stands before us all, with nothing to hide behind and no mask to wear, and tells the story of her life and her relationship with her mom. The good, the bad, and the delayed realization that being like her mother is actually a good thing.
Along the way, we’re treated to a handful of stories — many funny and a few heart-wrenching — as she explains the push/pull, love/hate (but always rooted in a foundation of love) relationship with her mother.
Often, in these autobiographical productions, the writer will portray themselves as an idealized version of who they were — more precocious, more clever, more intuitive, or even badder than they were, just to make themselves seem more important to the narrative. With Brown, we don’t get that at all — she tells her stories with an intense self-understanding and realization of her actions and her behaviour. She, thanks to the passage of time, understands her motivations and, more importantly, understands the motivations of her mother. She’s not playing a role; she’s not amplifying her youthful character.
She’s being honest. Brutally honest.
Or, as I said, she’s an incredibly talented actress to make me believe she was.
Towards the end, we see how everything that Meghan’s mom Pat has said, done, and taught over the years manifests itself exactly when it’s needed — when Brown’s at her lowest point after a particularly devastating relationship and breakup. Brown realizes she sounds like her mom and it’s a good thing — because it’s the sound of a strong, confident woman standing up for herself. It’s the sound of a woman only wanting what’s best for her daughter. And it’s the sound of love.
I Sound Like Mom is the sound of honesty. And it’s a powerful, wonderful, and fearlessly exposed story of Brown’s life. If the show is a gift for Brown’s mom, it’s also one that’s a gift for this year’s Fringe viewers.
***** — Five out of five stars.
This review originally appeared on theatreinlondon.ca.