On Mar. 8, Mama’s Boy opened the 10th annual Spark Festival at the Belfry Theatre.
Mike Delamont used every part of his towering six-foot-six frame to deliver a moving, intimate performance in his one man show — based on the true story of his own life.
Known for his critically acclaimed show God is a Scottish Drag Queen, and his many appearances on CBC’s The Debaters, Delamont was as funny as one would expect.
What viewers may not have anticipated, however, is how well Delamont used the dynamic range of his low, resonant voice. He brought nuance to every impression, and a ring of truth to every song. No summary of the plot could do justice to all of the different places Delamont took the audience throughout the performance.
Delamont committed equally to the high-pitched impression of his mother and the B.C. accent shared amongst his friends and extended family. That commitment brought all of his characters to life before the captivated audience. Suspending their disbelief so easily, Delamont gave the audience a glimpse into how he survived growing up with his alcoholic single mother, June.
Despite insisting that he couldn’t hold a tune, Delamont sang very well. He used music as a coping mechanism throughout his life and used it masterfully in the show to convey his vulnerability and growth. When the daily struggle with his mother would become too much, he would “throw on some large, noise cancelling headphones, and disappear.” The power of music in his life was not lost on a single audience member, who erupted into applause after each of his songs.
The performance was one of the most intimate I have ever seen. Delamont explained at the end that, “I was afraid you would judge my mother and I — that you wouldn’t like us,” adding “this story was my greatest fear.”
Sharing details with the audience that might otherwise remain confined to a counsellor’s office, Delamont could not be applauded enough for baring himself before a crowd of 150 strangers.
We listened to him describe cleaning up the urine-soaked sheets and blood-stained carpets that were all too familiar in his childhood. Delamont relives the recurring fear of opening his front door, expecting to find his mother collapsed, non-responsive, at the bottom of the staircase.
Delamont makes it clear that even though June was an alcoholic, she was more than just his mother. She was also his friend, and he loved her in spite of the mistakes she made. The two standing ovations that Delamont received could have been purely for the forgiveness he found on stage — but they were also for the memorable, honest show that was Mama’s Boy.