“Mama Won’t Fly” – Theater Works

This review aired on KBAQ January 20, 2014


Theater Works, Peoria Center for the Performing Arts
Peoria, AZ

An overtly silly and extremely frail comedy, “Mama Won’t Fly,” is marking its Arizona premiere at Theater Works.  It is competently performed but the play meanders all over the place and contains only one far-fetched and unexpected surprise that adds nothing except length to the ridiculous play.

The simple-minded premise has a mother driving from her Alabama home to attend her son’s California wedding because she’s afraid to fly for an asinine reason.  Her flying fear is because she can’t sit for more than a two hours, a non-reason for not flying because you can move around a plane.  And the absurd plot adds the mother diverting the trip with her daughter who accompanies her on the ridiculous trip with even dumber time extenders.  As if this story isn’t bad enough, add the pair’s discovery of the future daughter-in-law on the trip as it adds even more stupidity to the travel plans.

“Mama Won’t Fly” is so dim-witted that there’s no room for any real surprises but one far-fetched plot twist further slows the absurd plot to an awkward crawl.  Even though the play is only a couple of hours, it drags on for an eternity because nothing happens, it’s so predictable, and the expected ending, with Mom making it in time, is so obvious from the beginning.

But as weak as the play is, the Theater Works production makes the most of the stupidity as they try to wring a few laughs out of the piece.  Daniel Shay’s staging tries hard to make the play into a comic delight but the pacing is dastardly slow because Thom Gilseth’s set makes script mandated fast entrances and exits an impossibility.  The play pauses often while audiences wait for actors to trudge off and back on for another entrance.  Nobody’s fault, just a laggardly written play that should snap quickly but can’t because it wanders aimlessly.

Barbara McBain has a few funny moments as Norleen, the silly mother, but the rest of the cast does an adequate job without adding any comic snap.

“Mama Won’t Fly” isn’t anything special.  It continues through February 16.  For tickets, call the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts box office at 623-815-7930 or order tickets online at www.theaterworks.org.

Grade: D

One Response to ““Mama Won’t Fly” – Theater Works”

  1. Chris Curcio said:

    Feb 24, 14 at 15:26

    Thank you for your comments. I went through several recent posts, though, and couldn’t find the “many” spelling errors you said are present. Can you please send me some specific posts you noticed with “many” spelling errors” so I can actually see what you are talking about. Since all the reviews are printed using Word, spelling errors are marked and I check them before the review is finalized. I realize that if I misspell something I mean but create another word, it won’t, of course, mark the word as being misspelled. So I assume, the “many” misspellings you reference are o
    where I have misspelled the word I meant and created another accurately spelled word. So, please send me specific postings and tell me the number of spelling errors you have noticed in the ones you send. It’s funny becasue I have several friends who read my web site and are quick to point out spelling errors when they notice them. Recently, I haven’t received any such notices and no one else has mentioned this issue to me in responses to posts. Please help me and I’ll try to fix what are incorrect and I will note the kinds of errors you point out and be more careful in checking the reviews when they are posted. Thanks for your input and for your help in pointing out specific reviews with misspellings.