“REDEEMher. How I screwed up My Perfect Mormon Life”

“REDEEMher. How I screwed up My Perfect Mormon Life”
“REDEEMher. How I screwed up My Perfect Mormon Life”

A theatre review of “REDEEMher. How I screwed up My Perfect Mormon Life,” written and performed by Tatum Langton, directed and developed by Jessica Lynn Johnson, produced by Soaring Solo Studios, and presented as the closing night show of the Binge Free Festival (BFF) at The Santa Monica Playhouse.

Watch the show here: https://youtu.be/Jww-KjZElsQ

My best friend lives in Salt Lake City, so it was with great interest that I saw “REDEEMher. How I screwed up My Perfect Mormon Life.”  My friend is not a Mormon, but after 20 years living there, she is very familiar with the religion and has a few friends who either grew up in the church or who married into it. I’ve visited her many times over the years.  To me, the Mormon church and their quirky ways are really no odder than other religions.  And the play is in no way a diatribe on the difficulties of life within the Mormon church or the blueprint to an exit strategy.  This play is about one woman, her struggles with self worth, her marriage, her ambitions, and finding her path toward her truth.  She just also happens to be Mormon.

It’s also very very funny…especially the Mormon bits, but in a sweetly ironic way.

“REDEEMher. How I screwed up My Perfect Mormon Life”
“REDEEMher. How I screwed up My Perfect Mormon Life”

The purpose of a solo show is usually to exorcise deeply held dark secrets, or work through family drama or turning points in one’s life. Sometimes the subjects are lighter than others and sometimes the journey is painful to watch.  But as a lover of solo work, I can always find triumph in the journey, even as I dab my damp eyes.  Of course, not all shows are as moving as others. However, this show, “REDEEMher. How I screwed up My Perfect Mormon Life,”  is truly powerful though.  Perhaps I identified with the guilt or the disappointment, or the heartfelt ache of Tatum as she navigates her sense of loss and fear of rejection. 

Perhaps it’s the humour I found so compelling, the self deprecation, the lack of sarcasm, the beautiful honestly. I’m not sure.  But it is absolutely one of the best solo shows I have seen.  And I’ve seen quite a lot of them! 

Tatum’s story is not a new one.  Married young, as she grew up she wanted more than she had and so her husband and her grew apart.  When the pressures of her family and everyones expectations of what kind of person she should be became too much, something had to break. And it did. 

Yet, although Tatum’s story is told through characters in her life, her husband, mother in law, the Bishop of her church, none of these characters are critically performed. She creates them lovingly, she plays them with grace and dignity and tenderness, even as her life falls apart and all seems lost.  I think that is what I love the most about her show. This respect, this sweet honouring of those in her life that she far from agreed with. 

It’s a wonderful thing, to have such a deep care about those who pass through our lives, even when we don’t agree with them, even when we are unhappy with them. It’s so easy to make fun of people or be angry and resentful, especially in a show.  But Tatum has told her story without resorting to the usual suspects of conflict, defiance and blame.  And the result is epically good and so very funny. She even got this old agnostic a bit teary eyed and reminiscing her church club youth.

Jessica Lynn Johnson helms REDEEMher. How I screwed up My Perfect Mormon Life”  with her usual deftness. She has a lightness of touch as a director that hardly betrays her presence at all.  So every solo show I have seen that she has directed seems completely different from the last.  A ninja director, a shadow, a ghost.  Just amazing.

Tatum Langton is an actress, she now lives in L.A. and is happily remarried. Her tale of redemption is hilarious, very clever and genuinely moving.  If you ever get the chance to see the show, please do.  I hope she has more stories to tell in her uniquely funny and heartfelt way.  Absolutely loved it!!

“REDEEMher. How I screwed up My Perfect Mormon Life”
“REDEEMher. How I screwed up My Perfect Mormon Life”

https://www.tatumlangton.com

https://www.soaringsolostudios.com

Watch the show here: https://youtu.be/Jww-KjZElsQ

 

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros
Author: Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros is a British writer and filmmaker living In Los Angeles.