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Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00

Soccer Moms

Written by Catherine Berry
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The Theatre Guild of Webster Groves

Through 1/14/2007
Reviewed by Catherine Berry

Desperate Housewives may be a little too outrageous and grotesque for some people. They want their humor and emotional uplift, but they don't want to be shocked out of their seats in the process. For those of you, I recommend Soccer Moms, which looks to be just the right blend for (female) crowd-pleasing.

The night I attended, there were numerous moms of all ages in the audience nodding sagely at the dialogue onstage. Since your critic is neither married nor a mother nor into soccer, feel free to go by their opinion over mine. 

As Kathleen Clark's emotionally rigged title would suggest, the play showcases, teases and celebrates the self-conscious modern mom. In what is essentially a series of vignettes, we spend a day on the soccer field with a trio of instantly recognizable specimens: super-organized Lynn; brassy, tough-talking Nancy, and meekly skittish Allison. In between spells of bellowing to offstage (unseen) husbands and children, the women scoff, fuss and clash with one another, over what feel like lost opportunities and thwarted lives. Soccer becomes a metaphor for their lives, and in the end girl power wins, with the ladies out to prove themselves and play their best. Yes, we do get the Rocky theme playing at the climax.


As Nancy, Jan Niehoff projected to the back seats and beyond. I found her occasionally a little over-emphatic, but then sometimes I feel that way about real moms, so she must have been authentic. Sarah Wieck gave her character Lynn an air of lifelong competence without being stuffy about it, and revealed a secret wild streak with a sly glee that the audience enjoyed. Megan Vickers was very good at acting wistful and yearning without being emotionally squishy. I suspect each actress found something personal for them as women in these roles. Certainly, they made an impact, giving the audience an emotional release while leaving them essentially comfortable. The play was very much like a heart-warming TV special. For some of you, that will sound enticing.

The production at the Theatre Guild of Webster Groves will continue until January 14 [2007]. For ticket information, please call (314) 962-0876.


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