“Oh Shit:” even your mother would like this one

November 4, 1998.By William Randall Beard, Focus Point.

The danger of a great title like “Oh Shit, I’m Turing Into My Mother” is that it might turn out to be the best thing about the show. But this revue, conceived and directed by Peter Rothstein, exceeds all such expectations. It pairs an autobiographical monologue by Todd Petersen, poking hilarious fun at his own mother, with a series of poignant songs about all things maternal, spectacularly sung by Aimee Bryant and Katy Elsen.

Petersen’s mother is a sweet, unsophisticated woman and he plays upon her silly idiosyncrasies. It’s scary how good her is at playing her! The remembrances would seem vicious if they weren’t so loving. And he saves some of the best ribbing for himself: Little Todd, not yet a queen, was very definitely a princess-in-training and his talent show performances are not to be believed.

Mrs. Petersen was there opening night and was a good sport about the teasing, though “there are a few things I have talked to him about,” she said. The songs are a combination of familiar tunes and those that should be. Songs by Kander & Ebb and Andrew Lloyd Webber are alongside tunes by Maury Yeston, Bobbie Gentry, and Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens (of “Ragtime” fame). A new song by Rob Harmann and one by Tim Murphy and Bridget Carpenter complement the playlist.

It’s the balance of these elements that ensures the show’s success. The monologue is light as air, flip and somewhat frivolous. The songs ground it in an emotional reality that gives it added substance. Rothstein blends it all together in a very moving whole.

Petersen has recently returned to Minnesota after 15 years elsewhere. His is a welcome voice in the queer theatre scene. And this show, both funny and heartwarming, marks another triumph for Rothstein and his Theatre Latte Da.

Runs an intermittent schedule, Saturdays-Mondays, through Nov. 22 at the Loring Playhouse; 337-6666.