Shameless Hussy Productions and the Firehall Arts Centre present Love Bomb, a musical written by the ever-so-talented rising star Meghan Gardiner.
This was the most incredible two-women show I’ve ever seen. I was surprised to walk into a truly minimalistic performance space consisting of only a few props. What a delightful change to have only the vitally important things on the stage: the two actresses, a small concert stage with sound equipment and guitars, and four chairs. The simplicity of the set made the audience compelled to be focused on the actresses and their expressions where the real depth of the story was found.
The artistic qualities of the musical were indescribable. This is a show about something so crushingly real in our world: the power of love, which can be devastating and beautiful — and sometimes both at once.
“Love Bomb is not your typical musical in that the characters feel compelled to sing and it’s quite unnatural,” Gardiner told The Peak. “The story takes place during a rock concert, so it would be natural to sing.” The musical was touching and riveting partly because the audience could relate to the feelings of the two characters: regret, anguish, passion, desperation, and anger all in the name of love.
“The story is a mystery and the songs are the clues,” Gardiner explained. “The songs greatly advance the story.” The show’s plot is constructed from an emotional exchange between the mother of a missing daughter and the rising rock star who has the lyrics of songs that belonged to the missing girl.
Every song and their strategically written lyrics are a huge part of the storyline — the audience was hanging off each and every word sung and exchanged between the characters. The story truly toys with the idea of love and expresses a mother’s pain and desperation so well. The connection between the two characters is obvious from the moment they meet, and eventually it becomes an exchange of compassion and humanity — an example of how unfortunate but relatable situations can crash two very different people together.
Meghan Gardiner spoke about her creative process and her inspiration found in Vancouver, and she expressed that this production was one of the best creative experiences she’s ever had and what an honour it was to have worked with Steve Charles. “I don’t like to write, but I like to have written,” Gardiner joked. “It’s tough literally trying to invent for a deadline — but when it finally comes together it is so gratifying.”
Raised in Vancouver, Gardiner feels greatly inspired by the city — especially with the support of her family. “I feel a real sense of calm in nature and in the beauty of Vancouver [. . .] it clears my head and helps me to be creative.”
I strongly applaud this beautiful musical that is unafraid to boldly call attention to an issue in our society that is often ignored or misunderstood. I can’t say much more than that, as the effectiveness of the show depends on you not knowing what to expect.
But I recommend that you all go see it, because it is captivating, heartbreaking, and, above all, important. The talent explodes off the stage and brings to life Gardiner’s essential message: “Whether it’s as an explosion of fierce adoration or as a manipulative tool, love is powerful.”