Orlando Fringe Winter Mini-Fest review: ‘How I Met My Mother’

[Editor's note: We bring your attention to this review from January's Winter Mini-Fringe, after confirming with the artist that the show is essentially unchanged. A special performance of "How I Met My Mother" is scheduled for noon Monday, May 29,  at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center to raise funds for the Alzheimer's Association of Central Florida. Tickets are available on the Orlando Fringe website and at the on-site box office.]

Orlando audiences have long enjoyed Fringe Festival veteran Jon Paterson’s award-winning talents as a character actor in thrillers like House, comedies like Best Picture and comedic thrillers like Inescapable. But in How I Met My Mother, his first-ever solo outing as a writer-director, Patterson is playing a new and more moving role: himself.

His memory play monologue ricochets between his youth as a bad-ass brat giving his long-suffering mother endless agita and her final decline into dementia, when their roles reversed as he became her caretaker.

Patterson’s re-enactments of his reckless rebellion, which are riddled with '80s references, are ridiculously fun to watch thanks to his exuberance, even if said antics had lifelong repercussions for his familial relationships. But it’s the gently devastating details of his mother’s long goodbye that really grab the viewer’s heart in a vice grip. In the final moments, Patterson puts aside his wacky mime and wound-up delivery for two transcendent words that left every patron in my row weeping openly. 

Hilarious, heartrending and honestly human — with a dash of harmonica playing for good measure — How I Met My Mother has nothing to do with the similarly named sitcom HIMYM, but is certainly NTBM (not to be missed). Just make sure you bring a box of tissues or two, especially if you’ve ever had to care for an aging parent.


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