REVIEW: ‘Burning’ mocks artists and their world | New York Theater | NewJerseyNewsroom.com -- Your State. Your News.

newjerseynewsroom.com

Thursday
Sep 18th
  • Login
  • Create an account
    Registration
    *
    *
    *
    *
    *
    REGISTER_REQUIRED
  • Search
  • Local Business Deals

REVIEW: ‘Burning’ mocks artists and their world

burnt111511_optBY MICHAEL SOMMERS
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
OFF BROADWAY REVIEW

Guggenheim Award-winner Thomas Bradshaw is a button-pushing playwright whose career has been spent mostly pawing through the muck of racism, homophobia and other American social ills with the purpose of satirizing them.

In the past, I have found Bradshaw’s work generally to be crude stuff and his latest drama, “Burning,” is no exception.

Premiering on Monday at Theatre Row in a production by The New Group, “Burning” apparently intends to satirically roast phony-baloney artists and their tawdry world.

Whatever Bradshaw’s intentions may be, the result is a nasty two-act melodrama that features a mess of copulation simulated by the actors in various straight, gay, incestuous and underage couplings.

Studded with sex acts, Bradshaw’s elaborate narrative crisscrosses 20-odd years.

For lurid starters, the orphaned 14-year-old Chris (Evan Johnson) is an aspiring actor sexually annexed into the Manhattan ménage of a notable thespian-teacher (Andrew Garman) and a Broadway producer (Danny Mastrogiorgio). Two decades later, grown-up Chris (Hunter Foster), now a failed actor, gets involved with a teen (Vladimir Versailles) whose cousin Peter (Stephen Tyrone Williams) is a major artist. burning111511_opt

Linking the stories is Peter’s pregnant wife (Larisa Polonsky), who turns out to be Chris’ long-lost half-sister.

An African-American, Peter specializes in paintings of racist vignettes. When Peter attends a gallery opening in Berlin, he falls passionately for a Sudanese prostitute (Barrett Doss) and runs afoul of a seething neo-Nazi skinhead (Drew Hildebrand) and his crippled teen sister (Reyna de Courcy).

Another neo-Nazi (Jeff Biehl), an AIDS-stricken playwright (Adam Trese) and a stage director (Andrew Polk) are other characters.

Bradshaw unremittingly and cruelly depicts the play’s half dozen artists as pretentious, self-involved and even somewhat delusional individuals of questionable talent and zero morals. The remaining people are none too pleasant either. “Burning” is a fetid slag heap of amoral characters whose lives are drearily rendered through indifferently-written dialogue, far-fetched plotting and graphic bouts of sex.

Under Scott Elliott’s smooth direction, some good actors try their best to give a semblance of life to the characters but the blatant quality of Bradshaw’s shoddy writing defeats them. The New Group’s design values are first-rate, as usual. It’s a pity to see such talent wasted upon a worthless farrago like “Burning.”

“Burning” continues through Dec. 17 at Theatre Row Theatres, 410 W. 42nd St., New York. Call (212) 239-6200 or visit www.thenewgroup.org.

ALSO BY MICHAEL SOMMERS

REVIEW: ‘Standing on Ceremony’ anthologizes new plays about gay marriage

REVIEW: ‘Fragments’ offers a Samuel Beckett sampler

REVIEW: Hugh Jackman arrives ‘Back on Broadway’

REVIEW: World War times unfurl in ‘The Blue Flower’

REVIEW: ‘Venus in Fur’ gets sexy with Nina Arianda and Hugh Dancy

REVIEW: Sam Waterston storms as ‘King Lear’

REVIEW: ‘All-American’ suggests TV-Land

REVIEW: ‘Godspell’ sings once more

REVIEW: ‘Queen of the Mist’ musical celebrates Niagara Falls survivor

REVIEW: The Big Apple Circus ‘Dream Big’ is Grandma the Clown’s farewell

REVIEW: ‘Other Desert Cities’ burns with emotion

REVIEW: Taste ‘Milk Like Sugar’

REVIEW: Forget about ‘The Atmosphere of Memory’

REVIEW: ‘Asuncion’ depicts a loser

REVIEW: ‘Chinglish’ laughs about miscommunication

REVIEW: ‘Sons of the Prophet’ proves painfully funny

REVIEW: ‘Relatively Speaking’ involves a joyless threesome

REVIEW: Steve Jobs and Apple are sharply peeled by Mike Daisey spiel

REVIEW: Samuel L. Jackson ascends ‘The Mountaintop’

REVIEW: ‘We Live Here’ offers traditional sorrows

REVIEW: ‘The Lyons’ roar more or less

REVIEW: ‘Man and Boy’ studies a scoundrel and his son

REVIEW: Pay attention to ‘Motherhood Out Loud’

REVIEW: ‘The Submission’ leads to pain

JOIN US AT NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

ON OUR NEWSROOM

ON FACEBOOK

ON TWITTER

 

Add your comment

Your name:
Subject:
Comment:

Follow/join us

Twitter: njnewsroom Linked In Group: 2483509