Having been unceremoniously ditched at the door in favour of Dr. Noodle, I entered the Barron theatre on Friday night anticipating my viewing of ‘Wasted Love’ to be imbued with mild annoyance. Sitting solo at the back, I felt the first pang of despair as the two actors mumbled onto stage and, I confess, the word ‘amateur’ began to take shape in my mind. But before this thought could even be scribbled onto the program for future reference, it evaporated as the singing began.
I am a self-confessed lover of musicals, which may not be seen as very ‘cool’ these days, but I double dare anyone to go and see ‘Wasted Love’ and not leave with at least a wry smile on their face. The music was simple and actually pretty funny; a series of acapella tunes depicting fables of pathetic modern infatuations – the kind that are embarrassingly relatable. The cartoonised characters were nearly convincing. This is no criticism of the impressive acting, but more of a statement about how these actors thoroughly polished the clichés of teen angst until they were blinding. The dialogue was so depressingly familiar I could have been eavesdropping on a bunch of friends in the McIntosh common room, but just when it seemed a bit predictable, the quiet character in the corner of the therapy room announced that he couldn’t climax unless the girl was dying. This boppiness and upbeat approach to failed romance meant that there was no point when my interest waned.
So, yes, it was all very fun and entertaining, but ‘Wasted Love’ also succeeded in achieving one of the main purposes of theatre, as outlined in Aristotle’s Poetics. It was cathartic. The setting was a therapy room and although, as I have already mentioned, I was sitting up in the corner seat alone, I began to feel a strange sort of bond with the audience around me. I could have been the character on stage imagining she was being stalked to convince herself that somebody cares. The girl next to me probably experienced that too, not just me, right? The guy who sneezed in the third row may also have a penchant for excessive obsessive Facebook stalking. In essence, we are all just less extreme versions of the characters on stage, something that I felt highly optimistic about.
I would sum up this play as comic relief; I’m particularly relieved I didn’t hate it, as I was terrified I would. Hats off to the very talented cast and crew for putting together this little gem. Even more impressively, for advertising ‘Ugly Love’ through song to such a degree that I found myself burning with a desire to immediately hit the Lizard and undo the work of the bizarre catharsis I experienced from a piece of student theatre.
Images sourced by Devon Williams