Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End is a one-woman show full of wit and insight into the real-life of a housewife. Journalist and sister duo Allison and Margaret Engel have written a play that follows the life of Erma (Pam Sherman), told by herself. Erma highlights the ups and downs of motherhood and her life in suburbia while writing her weekly (then tri-weekly and syndicated) newspaper column called “At Wit’s End.”
Inspired by Bombeck’s columns and books, the play allows Erma to discuss her troubled childhood to her success as a journalist and public figure. Using some of Erma Bombeck’s witty but thoughtful lines, Sherman asks the audience “If life is a bowl of cherries, what am I doing in the pits?” She also informs the audience “If you look like your passport photo, it’s time to go home”. Bombeck implores that we never live life with regret. She pities “all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.”
Pam Sherman is a brilliant storyteller, and from the moment she steps on stage, she has the audience’s attention for the whole hour. Her comic timing is top notch and had me holding back tears of laughter from her delivery.
Sam Holderlein’s stage design and Derek Madonia’s lighting design work perfectly together to take Erma from one part of the house to the next.
Whether you know Erma Bombeck’s work or not, this show is an hour of brilliant writing and comedy. Don’t be fooled into thinking you won’t relate to the 1960’s housewife. A lot that happens in a modern-day household also happened then.
On at Buffalo’s Shea’s 710 Theatre until 10 November, tickets and information can be found on their website.