Ottawa Little Theatre’s Burn was due to premiere in 2020, but due to the obvious, the premiere was delayed by two years. Now, after a run in Canada, Burn is at the Edinburgh Fringe this year.

Robert, David and Sam have joined together to celebrate their late friend Paul’s life and to meet Paul’s estranged daughter for the first time. The group have been friends since university, although their group is now short by two, since the disappearance of Robert’s wife Tara, and Paul’s death. Tara and Paul were writers, and a large part of the group’s time spent together was spent conjuring up stories.

After Paul’s death, his estranged daughter Eve unexpectedly contacts Robert and he invites her to come and meet the group. Eve arrives and quickly this interaction turns sour, as it seems that Eve knows much more about the three friends than expected.

Eve is played by Joey Walsh. Upon the character’s entry, it’s clear that Eve is feeling nervous and awkward, due to the speed with which she speaks. There is then a change within the character of Eve as we realise, she may not be who she claims to be, eliciting a sinister feeling amongst the audience. Walsh at times gives an incredibly believable portrayal of this character. However, there were also times in which the portrayal felt slightly false due to moments which appeared over-acted.

Burn is rather slow to get going, which means the twists and turns of the thriller towards the end, feel slightly rushed – I feel a longer run time would help the play have its full impact.

As we learn more about each of the characters within the play, it becomes clear that everyone has secrets to hide. This meant that I did not feel any particular way about any of the characters. This slightly diluted the thriller aspects and effects of the play because I was Switzerland and not rooting for any of the characters in particular.

During one moment, there was a stumble over some lines, which meant some repetition as the cast found their groove once again. However, this became more understandable as we were told at the end of the show, that Stavros Sakiadis, who was playing the role of David, had flown in from Canada the night before. And only found out he was to fill in for the actor playing David, just a couple of hours before the show. So, bravo to Sakiadis for this.

I adore a thriller, and Burn has so much potential, the plot is solid, there is just some fine tuning required and then I’m sure that this is a recipe for success.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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