Sunday, October 9, 2022

Brian Copeland's "Grandma and Me" ★ ★ ★ ★

Brian Copeland's grandmother became a single mom at the age of 57, when she took over raising Brian and his four siblings after their mother died young. For those of us who have raised our own children in far less difficult circumstances, what this woman did is nothing short of  heroic.

But "Grandma and Me" is far more than a shoutout to Grandma. It is a testament to single parents everywhere. Copeland was fourteen when his mother died, but 37 when he and his wife divorced, leaving Copeland to raise his own four children on his own. His new show goes back and forth between his rebellious boyhood and his time as a single dad, as he comes to realize the razor edge all single moms and dads have to balance upon just to get by.

As always, Copeland gives us wonderful voices, particularly of his grandmother and of Sylvester, the man who turns out to be his stepfather. He keeps reminding us of the difference between "broke" and "poor." When you're broke, you're only out of money. You've always got options. When you're poor, every nickel adds up, even when an ice cream cone only costs five cents. "Twenty nickels is a dollar," Grandma warns. 

Above all, this latest Brian Copeland one-man show feels honest. Since one person is playing all the roles, it can get a bit confusing as to whether we are looking at 15 year-old Brian or 37 year-old Brian or 58 year-old Brian. But we don't stay puzzled for long. "Grandma and Me" is very funny as well as deep. It's about life. It's about dancing with your daughter at her wedding. It's even about lasagna. 

RATINGS ★ ★ ★ ★

The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division grants 4 STARS to Brian Copeland's "Grandma and Me." There are so many great lines, but perhaps our favorite is Copeland's observation that when your parents are really mad at you they use all of your names, such as "John Wilkes Booth, you clean up your room right now!" 


"Brian Copeland's "Grandma and Me" 

The Marsh

1062 Valencia Street, San Francisco

EXTENDED through November 19

$ Sliding Scale

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