LEWISTON – “Secrets of a Soccer Mom” scores a winning goal for The Public Theatre, but at times it’s a tough-fought battle.

Three excellent actresses make the difference in this entertaining play.

There are plenty of laughs and some believable moments of honesty and sincerity.

If at times it seems predictable or episodic, it’s well worth the patience to see the plot develop to a very satisfying finale.

It’s a summer afternoon at a community field where a moms-against-kids soccer game is in progress. At first, they agree with each other to go easy on their 8-year-olds and let them win. It’s a predictable progression to finding that the kids are playing for real, and the moms shift into competitive mode.

The action is all seen from the sidelines, where the moms find unexpected reasons to bond with each other. There’s the discovery of some potential marital problems with one of them. Another reveals an impulsive and hidden wild side under her super-organized personality. And the third is a been-there, done-that mom who goes with the flow of raising kids as she juggles the demands of modern married life.

We meet Allison, Lynn and Nancy and we get some off-stage introductions to a whole cast of interesting friends and family members.

At the end of the show, we see the deep-down problems and strengths of these three young women, and we have developed the same bonds with them that they have for each other.

Somehow, “Secrets of a Soccer Mom” has the feel of a pilot script for a television series. That’s not a problem, except that it ends with the feeling that there ought to be more to come. We want to really get to know the husbands and the kids.

Maura O’Brien is delightful in the part of Lynn. She comes to the game with a bag of PTA material and attempts to recruit her friends to help stuff some envelopes. That’s the kind of no-nonsense practicality that’s Lynn’s normal routine, but as the show moves on, she opens up to the fun of the game and some scintillating revelations about her personal life.

Heather Dilly gives a lively portrayal of Allison, who is the perfect picture of youth and athleticism with a secretive side that has Lynn and Nancy abuzz.

Dilly played the part of Lynn in the original Off-Broadway production of the play by Kathleen Clark in New York. It was known simply as “Soccer Moms” when it debuted about five years ago.

Although it’s interesting to watch the two characters and to wonder how Dilly might have presented the role of Lynn, it’s a thought that doesn’t last long. O’Brien is excellent as super-organized Lynn, and Dilly is just right as the high-spirited Allison with the mysterious surprise.

Janet Mitchko, who is associate artistic director of The Public Theatre, plays Nancy. She has dozens of deadpan one-liners, and that’s the kind of comedy she has come to deliver expertly in many TPT performances.

The show is directed by Christopher Schario, TPT’s artistic director, and he has done an excellent job of defining the special qualities of each character.

Go and do

WHAT: “Secrets of a Soccer Mom”

WHO: The Public Theatre

WHEN: at 8 p.m. Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, 7, 8; at 7 p.m. Oct. 30 and Nov. 6; and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 2 and 9

WHERE: Theater at Lisbon and Maple streets in downtown Lewiston

TICKETS: $18 for adults, $16 for seniors and students

MORE INFO: Call 782-3200 or visit www.thepublictheatre.org

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