Five good friends drop down to a foursome after one disappears under mysterious circumstances. Now, years later, the quartet is reduced again with the very recent death of their fourth to prolonged illness. The three have gotten together to remember the life of the recently departed at the behest of his estranged daughter, Eve, who they’ve never met. With Eve’s arrival, what appeared to be a simple look back at her father’s life with his dearest friends quickly begins to feel like so much more, with Eve’s probing questions into their past and her knowing significantly more about all three of them than she should — including more than a few dark and buried secrets.
Written and directed by John Muggleton, Burn is a well-crafted and highly suspenseful ride that manages to keep you intrigued for the duration as to what Eve’s game is and where we’ll ultimately end up. Good pacing and having expert storyteller, Megan Carty, in the role of Eve makes for a tension filled slow burn of the script’s reveals.
The four person cast, anchored by Carty, do an all round commendable job with a largely excellent script. Beguiling Eve, from her very entrance, comes off as more than meets the eye and remains fully captivating while her dubious true motives for bringing everybody together slowly reveal themselves over the roughly 75 minutes of the play (staged in real time). Chris Torti, Tahera Mufti, and Michael Thompson – all largely beginner actors – successfully pull off the feeling of a real friendship held by real people and convincingly play off of Eve’s suspicious behaviour enough to leave you fully engaged in your voyeuristic experience.
While an overall remarkable and highly recommended show, this world premiere isn’t without a few missteps. The staging of one crucial moment with a phone call felt forced and hard to reconcile. As well, the ending-but-not-really, now here’s the real ending, dragged down the otherwise excellent pacing. While it is possible that the actors were feeling two-shows-a-night fatigue, and the reveals of the multiple endings did serve a sense of completeness, given a show that otherwise always manages to keep you wanting more it would have been extra nice to leave the theatre with that high.
Still, those are smaller things in a highly entertaining evening’s ghost story.
But that’s just my opinion and I’d love to know what you think. Did burn keep you on the proverbial (or literal) edge of your seat? Did you leave the Avalon chilled and thrilled? Join the discussion and let me know in the comments below.
Burn has another run of shows slated for the end of December at the Avalon Studio. Visit their Facebook event for all the details: https://www.facebook.com/events/273858636345810/