Contemporary from “The Individuals,” Russell performs Anna, a dancer-turned-choreographer who’s mourning the freak-accident loss of life of Robbie, her inventive associate, roommate and homosexual BFF. Simply again from his funeral, she rails towards his household, who had by no means seen him dance, whereas her screenwriter boyfriend, Burton, drones on about his newest challenge. Her different homosexual roomie, Larry, serves up one quip after one other — Robbie’s ornate casket, he says, “appeared like an enormous Spode soup tureen.”
We snicker, however surprise: When will Lanford Wilson’s 1987 play lastly ignite?
It does some 20 minutes on, when Driver bursts in ranting as Pale, Robbie’s older brother. Menacing, profane and sexist — not less than till we see what lies beneath — the New Jersey restaurant supervisor first comes to gather Robbie’s belongings, solely to return for extra of Anna. Amid grief, guilt and want for contemporary begins, opposites appeal to. However love by no means comes straightforward in performs by Wilson, the late Pulitzer Prize winner whose work focuses on humorous, unhappy, warts-and-all tales of idiosyncratic women and men. This present has all that, in addition to contrivances and speeches extra colourful than convincing.
Michael Mayer’s tremendous forged performs up the humor, after which some. By hinting on the loneliness underlying Larry’s one-liners, Brandon Uranowitz makes the character greater than a pre-“Will & Grace” sidekick, whereas David Furr, dashing and assured, holds his personal within the pretty thankless position of Burton.
And Russell? She’s simply plain stunning in a star flip full of the wealthy, emotional honesty that made her irresistible in TV’s “Felicity.” Her toned legs and beautiful arches make her appear like the dancer she performs.
Driver, a theater actor lengthy earlier than he starred in TV’s “Ladies” and began his Kylo Ren tour in “Star Wars,” provides a efficiency as splendidly bizarre as it’s vanity-free. He’s sport for something, rising at one level in little greater than some tacky black BVDs.
He and Russell have palpable chemistry, even because the prospect of changing into a pair terrifies Anna and Pale. “I don’t need this,” every one says.
That we wish it for them is an indication that “Burn This” isn’t simply blowing smoke.