Saturday, March 31, 2012

'Bombshells' at QPAC

I saw bombshells tonight at QPAC and it was profoundly good. I don't usually write reviews; it's not really that type of blog - But this is an exception. Bombshells exceeded my expectations so much that I would be doing a disservice to myself and my (admittedly very small) amount of followers if I didn't share with you how well-written and performed it is.

Bombshells is a one-person show performed by Christen O'Leary. It runs for about 85 minutes in which O'Leary performs the whole time. Throughout the show O'Leary plays 6 vastly different, but equally interesting characters, in short segments. Some of the characters are amusing, some are heartfelt and emotional, but all of them are vividly real. The characters range from young (a school-aged talent-show enthusiast) to old (a volunteering widow) and from the everyday (a stressed housewife) to the eccentric (a cactus enthusiast). The skill with which O'Leary captures these characters is profound and rare. I found myself missing the old characters when the new ones were introduced, wanting to talk to them, to find out more of their stories.

The last show that really impressed me at QPAC was Mary Poppins, but that was a totally different theater experience altogether. Mary Poppins was impressive because of it's scale, it's light-hearted fun, it's magic and gimmicks and it's musical appeal. Comparatively Bombshells is on a stage one quarter of the size, performs to an audience an eighth of the size, features only one actress, and relies entirely on the the scriptwriting and acting to pull it all together. This is part of the reason I think that it deserves so much praise. In the world of Mary Poppins everyone is playing a character that is larger than life; in true Disney style you are transported to a whole different realm where anything can happen. Bombshells instills in you the same sense of wonder, except that the characters are believable.

I don't want to destroy the magic by describing any specific scenes or characters in too much detail so I'll just leave it with the suggestion that you see it for yourself.

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