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O’Connor Ignites Milwaukee Rep’s ‘Bombshells’

Theater Review

Dec. 1, 2010
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It’s tough for any actor to capture the attention of the audience for the duration of a one-person show, but Australian actress Caroline O’Connor holds her own in the Milwaukee Rep’s staging of Bombshells. Written specifically for O’Connor by Joanna Murray-Smith, Bombshells is a series of monologues delivered on an attractive set by Richard Hoover and featuring beautiful light design by Jeff Nellis.

O’Connor competently renders a half-dozen characters, including a widow who reads to the blind, a schoolgirl in a talent show and a washed-up stage diva. The characters represent a range of different personalities at various stages of life. The pacing and ordering of the monologues, however, has more to do with creating an entertaining show than making a profound statement on the nature of being human.

O’Connor’s charm keeps the show fun. The six characters give her an opportunity to sing, dance and act—all of which she does with poise and fluidity. The most novel bit of staging involves a day in the life of an overworked Australian housewife presented in a stream of consciousness. Props gracefully cascade across the stage and into the housewife’s hands with almost perfect grace in spite of her frazzled energy. Some of the characters have more depth than others, and O’Connor brings that depth to the stage with ease. The show may not offer great insight into the trials and challenges of the characters, but Bombshells delivers a pleasant mix of comedy and drama.

The Milwaukee Rep’s production of Bombshells runs through Dec. 19 at the Quadracci Powerhouse.


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