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39 and Ticking! The musical

Lisa Bunting, Lisa beley, Cheryl Mullen and Joan MacLean39 and Ticking! The Musical
Written and Directed by Sharon Heath
Music by Ted Hamilton with Joan MacLean
Full Figure Theatre
Jericho Arts Centre
August 3 to 8, 2010

Vancouver, BC: I bet there isn't a woman in the audience for "39 and Ticking!" who regardless of age, does not empathize with Rose and the conflicting voices in her head - specially that of her mother. We may not all share the special dilemma  of a 39 year old - longing to have a baby versus that darn ticking biological clock but we all at one time or another have been buffeted by conflicting images and desires from voices buried, but not-so-deep, in our subconscious minds.

Writer/ director Heath has taken the voices that plague 39 year old Rose (Lisa Beley) or at least three of them, and embodied them as free spirit/ cougar Mattie (Lisa Bunting), Mom (Joan MacLean) and some kind of existential guru, played by Chery Mullen who doubles as Rose's boyfriend Dan.

Lisa, Joan and Cheryl as the voices in Rose's headWe meet Rose in her flat, where she is whizzing around in response to the noisy inner voices, and ignoring the pregnancy test kit waiting in her bathroom. Desperate to get pregnant, Rose has spent time, a lot of it,  on-line dating - where she  encounters numerous less than desirable guys. Until she finally meets Dan.

Dan however has two kids of his own already, and does not want another. But Rose thinks she is pregnant, and finally gets round to a home-pregnancy test.  While she waits out the 3 minutes till the test is done, Rose and her voices relive the past intermingled with the present, until the whole thing comes to a happy ending, considerably more than three minutes later.

Accompanied by pianist Diane Lines, the cast put hearts and souls into their performances. Beley was quite real as the desperate 39 year old and Mullen was very funny particularly as Dan. Bunting had several hilarious numbers; and as for MacLean as Mom - even I felt the pressure!

Surprisingly though for a musical, the aspect I found least memorable  was the  music. As my readers know my musical taste does not run to the sophisticated nor avant-garde.  I love the old-style hummable and memorable melodies - the kind composed by Porter, Berlin, Rodgers.  And I confess with profound embarrassment that Lloyd-Webber's song Memory from Cats, can still  make me cry.  I did not leave this show with any tune stuck in my mind.

 But I did find myself thinking that in this reproductive game, we women really lost out - feeling  old at 39  while men can ignore the biological clock. The only consolation is that once we women are past the reproductive age they are often fitter and healthier than their male contemporaries and life gets to be much more fun. Do you think there is a musical in that?