Written and Performed by Gaby Gold; Directed by Theresa Gambacorta
Produced by Lady 180 Productions
Part of the 2016 New York International Fringe Festival
Off Off Broadway, Solo Show
Runs through 8.26.16
VENUE #16: The Huron Club, 15 Vandam Street
by Shane McConnell on 8.19.16
Gaby Gold in Calm Mom. Photo by Nick Carter.
BOTTOM LINE: Gaby Gold is a capable singer whose autobiographical account of the travails of motherhood comes to life on stage.
In Calm Mom, Gaby Gold's soulful renditions capture the moment she realizes her baby isn't breathing. It's easiest to empathize with her when the EMT arrives and nonchalantly asks for some information, including whether the parent has been drinking. Since this is a tale of her journey through recovery, the question becomes meaningful.
Gold has a knack for creating rapid rhythmic spoken word segments out of conversations that erupt between the characters she plays, and this makes Calm Mom read like a lovely overheard-in-New York piece. There are effective time dashes communicated coherently at a breathless pace. Ideas flutter in and out as do accents in a stream of conscious rhythm that moves at the pace of a hectic New York City sidewalk. Gold also delivers some delightful and impressive tongue twisters along the way.
She is accompanied by a live pianist (Steven Gross) who is alleged to be Barry Manilow, but with her full melodious voice, it's clear that Gold could carry the tunes on her own. The pre-recorded score is funky and fun at first, but when it when returns repeatedly, it doesn't seem to add momentum or be an ideal fit for her singing voice. There is a fun ditty on the Weight Watchers experience, and a corny song about being a "hot cougar." But as playful as these sections are, some straightforward anecdotes delivered without shtick might really help Gold connect to the audience and give the show the balance it needs.
Although her frustration and exasperation over her baby's well-being are palpable, there is an opportunity here to create a stronger empathic connection with the audience. Some turns in her road to recovery don't lend themselves as well to singing as others. For example, the song about how nice it is to be a around trees is underwhelming. And though her rapping doesn't land as well, Gold has a certain knack for capturing life in this city.
(Calm Mom plays at VENUE #16: The Huron Club, 15 Vandam Street, downstairs, through August 26, 2016. The running time is 50 minutes. Performances are Sun 8/14 at 4:45; Wed 8/17 at 7:15; Sat 8/20 at 3:15; Tue 8/23 at 6:15; and Fri 8/26 at 7:30. There is no late seating at FringeNYC. Tickets are $18 and are available at fringenyc.org. For more information visit gabygold.com.)
Calm Mom is written and performed by Gaby Gold. Directed by Theresa Gambacorta. Musical Direction/Arrangements/Piano Playing is by Steven Gross. Music by Tom Corrado, Paul Fujjimoto, Michael Hart, Mitch Lance, Dina Pruzhansky. Representation by Veronique Ory. Sound Design by Kelly E. Harnett. Board Operation by Jeff Rocco, Ellen Rosenberg.