Chris Cannell reviews Wasted Love, which went up the 1st-3rd of March in the Barron Theatre.
“Sharing helps.” So begins Wasted Love, a musical which at first skitters humorously over, then joyously dives into, some pretty heavy themes: love, therapy and modernity. It is a generous piece, gladly sharing its soul with the audience. This generosity and openness is enhanced by a Spartan set, consisting of instruments and red Union chairs, not the usual blue Barron seats, which provide the only caesura between audience and performers during the show; the fourth wall is completely demolished and the gifted cast clearly enjoy breaking it. The script and songs, self-referential and nicely peppered with pop-culture references, are a delight; my personal favourites include a guitar ditty on the existential crises caused by Facebook stalking, an a cappella number on nascent necrophilia, and the anthemic musical setting of the famous Corinthians verse “Love is…”
This final number provided a bookend to a plot centered on finding love and acceptance. While the story could be accused of feeling a tad thin in places given the piece’s Fringe heritage, which limited its show length to an hour, the outstanding and talented cast did a sterling job of fully exploring their characters. From the first entrance of admirable musical director, major-domo and therapist Adam Robbie, and the subsequent exposition of each character’s struggle with separation, all involved inhabited the roles fully and gave full expression to both the humour and poignancy each of their break-up stories brought to the mix. Special mention must be made to Emma Taylor’s fine display of emotion and timbre, Cameron Kirby being born to play a stalker, Lauren Dunlop’s spiky and characterful stylings and Emily Hill’s delightful killer kookiness.
Each number was accompanied by solid choreography that commanded the space; a space well suited to this kind of intimate character driven musical. Costuming was well used to accentuate character and lighting direction was strong and well employed to engage mood. Overall the mood of the piece was well fashioned, and the treatment of the themes humane, humorous and touching; in all an evening certainly not wasted.
Image credits: Kelly Diepenbrock for the photo and Mathilde Johnsen for the poster.