Fringe Review: Burn It

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By Alicia Sullivan

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Trigger Warning: discussions of violence, self-harm, eating disorders, suicide ideation and abusive relationships.

As a reviewer, sometimes I stumble upon hidden gems that I do not know if my words will give justice to the show and how amazing it was. Burn It may be simple when it comes to the set but this two-person play immerses you within the story that you feel like you have been transported to another place and you are no longer at the Strathmore where Burn it is currently playing.

Burn it focuses on the friendship between Jaydn and Cam and the complexities of their relationship and other relationships in their past and present. Cam takes Jaydn away camping to get away from life and away from her ex. It starts off like it was a wholesome idea until Jaydn states she hates camping and they both decide they just want to drink – it’s a way for them try to bury their feelings and trauma with alcohol, dark humour, and games. Both know the other is struggling with their mental health but the more they try to help each other, the more toxic their dynamic becomes. Throughout Burn it, the protagonists begin to realise they have developed a co-dependent bond.  It is an honest reflection on how some relationships are not healthy for us even when the love is still there.

The pleasing thing about this play is the characters are three dimensional and not caricatures of people who live with anxiety, depression, eating disorder and abuse. The storytelling is nuanced but poignant and the characters are raw, real, and likeable. You feel every line of dialogue as if you are in their world and they are sharing their vulnerability only to you. Words leave you uncomfortable but invested in Jaydn and Cam, and resonate with their struggles. This is a credit to Lydia Kuelsen the writer of the show and the performance of the actors Sian Dower and Lydia Kuelsen.

It is the chemistry between the actors Sian and Lydia (Jaydn and Cam) that is the standout of the show. It helped make their relationship/friendship as believable and genuine (with no queer-baiting) – you can’t help but root for their characters to overcome their issues.

Though the show explores some strong subjects in Burn it, this show was hilarious. When the story became dark, they lighten the mood with comedy gold. They had the audiences in stiches with some witty one liners and explanations on why a tub of lentils could kill you. It takes genuine skill to intertwine comedy and drama without disjointing the story.

I can honestly say I was genuinely sad when this show finished, not only because of the emotions it elicited but because I just wanted to keep watching these two amazing performers and the story they were telling. We don’t know what the future holds for their characters but hope they find the things they crave in a healthy way.

Burn it is a must-see show- 5 stars

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