Closed 2h 30m
Burn This
Midtown W
79

Burn This NYC Reviews and Tickets

79%
(403 Reviews)
Positive
85%
Mixed
14%
Negative
1%
Members say
Great acting, Funny, Absorbing, Entertaining, Intense

About the Show

Three-time Emmy Award nominee Adam Driver ("Star Wars: The Last Jedi") and Golden Globe Award winner Keri Russell ("The Americans") star in the first-ever Broadway revival of Lanford Wilson’s acclaimed play.

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Member Reviews (403)

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79
Dated, Unconvincing plot, Strong acting, Funny, Riveting

See it if you want entertainmt. BT lacks depth, but is funny/engaging. Plot makes no sense (why are lovers obsessed?). About journey, not destination.

Don't see it if you want real insights or believable-consistent chars. Still, Driver commands stage; Uranowitz delivers. Polished prodn. Missing pathos.

55
Misogynistic, Noinsensical, Cliched, Boring, Disappointing

See it if you must see these actors live. Unfortunately,​ Russell is not at her best. Driver does a good job with his cartoon of a character.

Don't see it if this is overly dated, incoherent, meandering and sophomoric. At the end of act 1 nothing is built to want to come back for more. Read more

Critic Reviews (50)

April 16th, 2019

"If Driver bestrides 'Burn This' like a colossus — everyone else seems to shrink beneath his shadow when he’s onstage....Mayer’s version, the play might be titled 'Waiting for Pale.' This is partly because Ms. Russell...never seems in any way undone...This 'Burn This'...only rarely stirs the heart. In the ideal production, it creates the sense of fire meeting fire in a folie à deux between two ill-matched yet inexorably bound lovers. What we have in this case is a one-man conflagration."
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April 16th, 2019

“Driver gives it everything he’s got. He’s terrific, and slightly terrifying...Pale is irresistible to Anna, too, and that’s where the Broadway revival of Lanford Wilson’s 1987 quasi-romance bumps up against its own limitations...The play features highly actable parts...Yet Anna is, for the most part, a noncharacter...After an angry first scene, she fades into a frustrating gray...Anna exists to be fought over and passed around, and even when she asserts herself, she is not to be believed.”
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April 16th, 2019

“Mayer’s revival...is pretty dang good — mostly because, playing the human furnace at its center, Adam Driver is straight-up great...The play’s inherent risk, though, is that Pale will eclipse Anna by sheer force of personality, and despite Russell’s best efforts, this ‘Burn This’ is indeed Driver’s show...Driver keeps the show aloft...And he’s funny as heck...Driver’s performance is certainly this production’s crown jewel.”
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April 16th, 2019

“In a performance of astonishing physicality...Driver maintains that dangerous energy...It's a credit then to the luminous Russell and the two supporting actors that nobody gets swallowed up in Pale's vortex...Wilson's play remains a compelling account of love...In choosing to dial up the humor, Mayer has undercut the anguish that is the drama's foundation, exposing ‘Burn This’ as just a circuitous journey to an inevitable romantic conclusion...Still, this is a dynamic production.”
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April 16th, 2019

“Mayer’s kinetic, consistently engaging production...Pale is a fantastically chewy part...And Driver owns every moment of it...Russell looks gorgeous...But she doesn’t seem entirely comfortable on stage...Driver moves through it all like his own weather system, maybe the most entertaining hurricane onstage this year...It’s too bad that the love story between Anna and Pale never completely convinces us that they are in fact, on fire; it sparks and smolders, but it’s not quite that kind of burn.”
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April 16th, 2019

“A finely-tuned revival that features incendiary performances by Driver and Russell, playing two lost souls in a powerful and passionate dance of denial...Vital to the success of this fascinating, flawed and overlong play is the casting, especially in the leads that require an audience to believe that such disparate people can find a safe haven in each other’s arms...Driver is riveting here, and audiences will identify with Anna’s dilemma of both wanting him to leave and needing him to stay.”
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April 18th, 2019

"No amount of high-class craftsmanship can conceal the fact that 'Burn This' is a smiley-faced variation on 'A Streetcar Named Desire'...The four parts are respectively played by Keri Russell, Adam Driver, David Furr and Brandon Uranowitz, all of whose performances have a shallow, one-notey feel. While I suspect that Michael Mayer’s direction is at least as much to blame for their collective lack of intensity, Mr. Driver is glaringly miscast as Pale."
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April 17th, 2019

“Nasty and big as a tree, Driver’s Pale is a one-note samba in a play that cries out for subtlety and nuance. There is nothing about Driver that inspires sympathy...In the shadow of his loutish and overwhelming performance...Russell seems colorless...’Burn This’ offers a chance to absorb a play that is based on the ...writing instead of the...’concept’...Even if this production offers more ashes than flames...’Burn This’ is still earnest, riveting and well worth a visit.”
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April 16th, 2019

“’Burn This’s’ flaws have been there from the start...Russell, so good in 'The Americans', is just no match for either Driver or the stage. Her performance here is flat, her delivery single-note...So what’s needed? I’d say passion, or at least chemistry. But Russell’s Anna just hasn’t the emotional weight to provide the heft needed for an equal and opposite reaction to Driver’s Pale.”
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April 21st, 2019

"Absolutely delightful, witnessing Adam Driver, in an utterly captivating turn...The slightly discordant element for the audience here is forming the belief that this woman of inordinate self-control would have the patience for such a potential romantic train wreck; Russell never gives the impression that her Anna is capable of letting go to the degree that would seem necessary...Though, we are all so in the thrall of Driver...that we believe in his ability to turn Anna’s head. He’s such a natural force."
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April 16th, 2019

“If you come to ‘Burn This’ expecting fireworks from Driver and Russell, be patient: The play takes a while to combust...It does some 20 minutes on, when Driver bursts in...Mayer’s fine cast plays up the humor, and then some...Driver and Russell have palpable chemistry, even as the prospect of becoming a couple terrifies Anna and Pale...That we want it for them is a sign that ‘Burn This’ isn’t just blowing smoke.”
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April 16th, 2019

“There is very much to like about Driver’s performance...The problem with this production is that it doesn't spend enough time at either end of the dial...While I don't doubt some will rail against ‘Burn/This’ and its tropes as a dated piece...Wilson was so compassionate and haunting a writer that his play was, and is, filled with comfort, and some challenge, for everyone. As its title implies, 'Burn/This' is complex and dangerous; it is worth more risk.”
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April 16th, 2019

"Russell captures Anna’s struggle...Driver’s combative performance is not so different from his impulsive angry man persona on 'Girls,' but it nevertheless suits Pale. However, Russell and Driver lack the nuanced interplay and explosive electricity necessary to make the drama (which is rather thin and has lost shock value over the years) come alive...The production becomes increasingly static and empty over the course of two and a half hours of long-winded scenes."
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April 16th, 2019

“While the performance overshadows the play itself, there's no denying Driver and Russell together are smokin' hot...Wilson clearly had a lot more on his mind than penning a romantic drama...But the ideas are never fully developed and Wilson falls back on contrivances that bring Anna and Pale back together. The performances are all excellent...Mayer does the best he can with the imperfect play, and though over-long, the production catches fire every time Driver enters the room.”
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April 16th, 2019

“The predictable storyline plays like a mildly entertaining movie of the week, with little depth...Fortunately, this production features an explosive performance that heats things up. Driver's blazing-hot portrayal of...Pale ignites the stage like a force of nature...Driver's outsize performance does, however, have the effect of dwarfing other characters. The biggest casualty is Russell's Anna...So much so that they never develop convincing chemistry.”
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April 17th, 2019

“The phrase ‘toxic masculinity’ wasn't exactly in the vernacular in 1987...So perhaps coked-up, homophobic, violently aggressive, possessive bullies were considered sexier than they are now...Generally well-acted production...Russell gives a fine, thoughtful performance as Anna...As played by Driver, Pale’s a thuggish bulldozer...There is little texture and why the mature, introspective Anna is lured to him is never quite apparent.”
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April 19th, 2019

“There's no getting around the fact that Wilson's 1987 play is one of his minor works. And, in this production, it's looking rather long in the tooth. In fact, it's something of a puzzlement...It is built around a romance of opposites so forced as to beggar belief. It also feels wildly out of sync with the #MeToo moment...Overall, Mayer's direction emphasizes the script's comic side, which keeps the audience entertained while never quite addressing the prickly problem of its central romance.”
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April 16th, 2019

"Plenty of sparks...Unfortunately, the fire is largely confined to the unglued coke-addled character at the play's center, enacted with eye-popping abandon by Driver, while the rest of the production appears to be wrapped in asbestos...Wilson's failure to provide anything but the skimpiest details about the characters is made all the more problematic by Mayer's too-light directorial hand...Overall, this is a play that is filled with unanswered questions...A frustratingly unfulfilling evening.”
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April 16th, 2019

“A facile but overdrawn comedy-drama which is highly entertaining much of the time, with too much of that time spent on wild theatrics and glib characters cracking wise...Mayer stages the play efficiently, under the circumstances. What the play needs, it seems, is the severe editing and trimming that you can’t easily accomplish with a revival of a play by a deceased playwright.”
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April 16th, 2019

“Russell and Driver possess precious little chemistry in Michael Mayer’s tepid revival...Driver’s a veritable force here...And he seems to have a genuine rapport with...Russell, who’s perhaps too inhibited...Despite what the promos for this revival would have you believe, the actors playing Pale and Anna don’t necessarily require house-on-fire chemistry. Wilson didn’t write a smoldering love story. He wrote a romantic comedy—and what they need is a burning need for each other.”
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April 16th, 2019

“There’s a tempest being whipped up nightly...where a ferociously good Driver is starring opposite Russell...Driver delivers a dazzling whirlwind of a performance...Which is all to the good, because the production never coheres into an emotionally compelling whole...Russell is not entirely adept at transmitting the delicate subtext in Wilson’s dialogue...With Driver so forcefully dominating the evening, it gives a masterly depiction of half a relationship.”
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April 28th, 2019

"It takes far too long for Pale, Wilson's most outrageous and flamboyant creation, to arrive on the scene. For another, the premise of the play requires Anna to be overly reserved and subdued, in contrast with Pale's constantly explosive character. The customarily sure-fire director Michael Mayer somehow seems to have accentuated those problems with lethargic consequences."
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April 20th, 2019

“Written in the 80s, when the AIDS crisis was at its peak, playwright Wilson’s exploration into this genre surely had more impact when it opened on Broadway...Mayer skillfully and cleverly plays it all to the hilt allowing for the silliness of Larry’s character to bloom large against the combustible and eventual surprisingly tender side of Pale. There are many spellbinding moments and some lulls. But you will leave the Hudson Theatre emotionally drained after two and a half hours.”
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April 17th, 2019

“Once onstage, Pale is the only character you see, Driver the only actor you watch. He roars, he whispers, he prowls, plumbing the depths of grief, finding nuance and humor in an unpredictable and unsettling character. Just when you think you know Pale; Driver unpeels yet another layer...It is absolutely thrilling...While Uranowitz and Furr manage admirably, I'm sorry to say Russell falls short....Ultimately, this play, this performance is all about Driver."
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April 21st, 2019

"It’s not a perfect rendering, but with Adam Driver as Pale, the evening is thrilling, and the conversations on fire. He’s as compelling and fascinating as you would hope, but with Anna in the arms of Russell, working a bit too hard as if someone told her to remember to project and enunciate, which she does, in abundance, one-third of the love triangle +1 feels unsteady and off track."
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C
April 16th, 2019

"Pale is one of the most explosive characters written for the stage, a sort of latter-day Stanley Kowalski. Driver expertly captures Pale's sudden mood swings and outbursts of temper, his outer bravado and his barely-hidden inner pain...And while there's little question the massively large Driver is physically threatening -- he can easily break anything -- there's the nagging suspicion from the get-go that he's really a gentle giant, which shouldn't really be unveiled until near the play's end."
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T
April 16th, 2019

“Character-driven play with only a wisp of a plot,…'Burn This' is like a boiler that flares up with a whoosh whenever things begin cooling down, almost always when Driver's on stage…He makes a perfect Beast to Anna's Beauty, even though it's impossible to accept their eventual pairing…Wilson's script makes Anna so placid in the face of Pale's …rudeness that the actress is stymied from the outset; still, one would like to see more signs of her…distaste before she…gets to douse his flames.”
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April 16th, 2019

“There are entertaining moments in ‘Burn This’, especially when Driver takes Lanford’s vivid, wily language and goes to town with it...Russell can’t help but be upstaged by Driver – and by Uranowitz...’Burn This’ might have worked better if the focus were more sharply on the emotional duet, without scenes that now feel extraneous or dated. Perhaps it would have felt breathless at 90 minutes, instead of 150."
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April 17th, 2019

"Driver and Russell are like a slow blazing fire. Though they do not combust, there is heat. In their first round, the two smolder and are sexy as hell, but in the second round somehow the chemistry embers are just too lazy to ignite...Russell is beautiful and dancer like. Driver is larger than life, wonderfully quirky and very DeNiro like. Furr has more chemistry with Uranowitz who almost steals the show...Mayer keeps this two hour and twenty minute show on its toes."
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April 16th, 2019

“Set alight by a beautiful, unpredictable performance from Adam Driver, the play is a mishmash of absurdities, contrivances and what-did-he-just-says? But it invites actors to luxuriate in its ripe emotionalisms and half-naked sentimentality. If that’s the kind of thing that turns you on, then sure, sparks fly...Directed with sympathy and a little schlock by Mayer...The romance at the center of 'Burn This' mostly seems like a lot of work and a lot of twaddle."
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April 24th, 2019

“For a gay playwright to write a play with gay characters, and never even obliquely mention AIDS is puzzling...Furthermore, the surviving gay roommate, while excellently played...is a tired cliché...Driver is indisputably impressive, but I found his version of Pale unmodulated and too prone to reach for laughs. As Anna, Russell is the one who is pale. In her defense, I think her part is underwritten...If there are hidden depths in the script, director Michael Mayer did not find them."
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April 16th, 2019

“Mayer directs...and he takes a decidedly light, comic approach to the material, especially the character of Anna...What Russell can’t do is ground Wilson’s play in some reality that makes sense of Anna’s decision...Instead, Russell and Mayer have chosen to make a joke of the whole dated enterprise...Driver gives a towering performance...Pale’s tirades show Wilson in peak form, and Driver does them full justice."
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April 20th, 2019

“Driver is a super dynamic actor who piles on his peculiar charm with the force of fierce winds of a hurricane...Russell does a very effective job portraying the various frustrations and emotions of Anna in relation to Pale and her work...’Burn This’ holds up as an important work in Lanford Wilson’s writing, and it is delightful to get such an excellent all-around production with this formidable cast.”
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T
April 27th, 2019

"Driver and Russell, who are supposed to be wildly attracted, appear to barely acknowledge each other. The essential fiery chemistry allied to in the title is missing...Driver has the right imposing physique and physicality for the role, but he comes across as a comically clumsy oaf...To compound the production’s problems, Russell barely registers as the vacillating Anna...Fortunately...director Michael Mayer wisely emphasizes Wilson’s wit."
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May 11th, 2019

"Lanford Wilson’s 1988 headscratcher of a play, has seemingly no reason to exist other than to give Adam Driver, its marquee star, an opportunity to flash his considerable talent on a Broadway stage. Unfortunately, nearly every note of this dated, slow burn rings false...Whatever appeal this play must have once had has long since extinguished, no doubt existing only in flickers of nostalgia. Skip this one."
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April 16th, 2019

“Sure, the relationship of Pale and Anna is the focus, and we are supposed to think that opposites will attract. But he is such a nightmare and so unhinged, you would want him out of your apartment and bed, not in them...Even if one were not watching 'Burn This' with a 2019 cultural filter, the relationship between Anna and Pale feels unconvincing to the point of preposterous...The actors here make as best sense out of it as they can."
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April 16th, 2019

“Russell swipes a match that won’t catch. Driver strikes one up, but of course it’s out before long. Rarely does a single moment so literally, and unfortunately, stand in for the whole...The revival is flame-retardant nonetheless. An affair between their two characters never lets off sparks...If Wilson’s drama was meant as an oblique comment on its times, or this revival means to speak to ours...Mayer’s production makes neither case...The production’s nostalgic sheen glosses over a hollow center.”
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C
April 20th, 2019

“Mayer’s production with the illimitable Driver, measured, blossoming Russell, with assists from Uranowitz and Furr is revelatory for us today. The themes of love, acceptance, the possibility of redemption and growth...are vital...Mayer and the actors and artistic creatives take this startling, understated, emotionally sonorous and uplifting play and make it a resounding success that you do not want to miss, especially for the laughter, the hope, and the performances."
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May 13th, 2019

"While the lead performers sizzle, the play fizzles...Russell and Driver, connect like sparkplugs while the play stumbles unevenly between the past and the conflicts of the present...The stage snaps alive when Driver pounds on the door...Russell, plays Anna with subtle grace and intimacy...It is Uranowitz...who has the laughs and often the best observations...The real fire in 'Burn This' lies in the search to find the burning passion in life."
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April 19th, 2019

“Wilson’s 1987 improbable, meandering love story, is given an expertly calibrated revival...An unquestionable showcase for two actors who can generate romantic heat burning through personality clash, and...Driver and Russell, do that...wonderfully...The play is most alive when Driver is on stage...It’s a gratifying experience to see Driver and Russell bringing validity as well as marquee glamour to this sensitively, sometimes flashily written but not always convincing work."
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O
April 20th, 2019

“Russell, Uranowitz, and Furr are resourceful actors who bring dimension...and we find ourselves...interested in following these three whose problems we hope to find resolved...Pale is a large character, and Wilson has written him brilliantly. He is aided by actor Driver...The conclusion is somewhat abrupt...What matter is the chemistry between Anna and Pale is hot; and though I’d feel that heat uncomfortably if I stayed too close to it, I had a fine time watching it build and grow.”
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April 24th, 2019

"Despite its adoration by acting students, Wilson's play is nothing special...Worse, however, is the absolute lack of chemistry between Driver and Russell. The script indicates an animalistic attraction, one that is equal parts alluring and frightening. But their relationship appears out of nowhere, without much warning or conviction, and moves at an unconvincing speed."
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April 23rd, 2019

“Colorful and poetic writing...Excellent direction and performances...Driver is a bull in a china shop and charismatically raging as he reveals surprising sides to the character...Russell is a fine Anna...She and Driver don’t seem to share a burning chemistry...But their physical differences make them an interesting odd couple...When they come together...it’s lovelier than anything in the gossip headlines. I’m burning to see this again.”
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April 16th, 2019

“In the uneven revival...Driver is compelling and charismatic as Pale...Russell comes off stiff and vaguely uncomfortable in the role — tentative, constantly fussing with her hair and not quite sure what to do with herself. The idea that she’s a professional dancer never comes across. More problematic, neither does her attraction to Pale...In this case, the fire does not burn nearly hot enough.”
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April 16th, 2019

“Driver gives a sublimely physical performance...As a piece of writing ‘Burn This’ is far better at character than it is at plot, but Driver makes it come alive, to the point that Michael Mayer’s bright production dims when he’s not on stage...Anna’s an underwritten role in comparison and Russell gives a restrained and overly subtle performance. Alongside them, Uranowitz manages to humanize the humorous Larry.”
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W
April 19th, 2019

"Pale explodes onto the stage, embodied by the actor Adam Driver, and grabs your attention. His first monologue is a masterpiece of characterization, telling us all we need to know..Wilson's low-stakes romance is a bit worn around the edges, despite Michael Mayer's sprightly direction...Yet Driver's Pale is so vibrantly real, vulnerable and caring, despite all his angry posturing, that we're immediately drawn in. One of the best performances on Broadway this season."
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April 19th, 2019

“The story is paper thin. How do these two mismatched people get to come together when the forces act against them...Wilson sets up the premise but...you have to stretch the imagination...Mayer has opted to infuse a comedic spin to the proceedings, and it is fine in some places, but it dilutes the more profound moments. There is enough solid acting and substance here to make this revival worth seeing, but the real burning comes from Adam Driver. He makes the stage come alive.”
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M
April 17th, 2019

"A disappointingly dull and uneven production...The draw of Driver & Russell drew me to the play but their pas de deus didn't flare...The overall acting was arid. The only real sparks of energy in the play came from the funny, inextinguishable roommate Larry...Uranowitz added hilarity into a triangle love story that didn't muster romance from any angle...Uranowitz was the only reason to see this soddened, dated play.”
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N
April 23rd, 2019

"Driver is a handy illustration of the difference between an actor and a star...But his latest effort will make a believer out of even the most dedicated skeptic...He is by turns endearing, exasperating, exhausting, and hilarious...At its core it’s a romcom, albeit an R-rated one that finds a lot of humor in profanity and cocaine binges...It’s a highly entertaining if not particularly challenging evening at the theater made more than worthwhile by the punchy wit of the playwright."
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N
April 17th, 2019

“’Burn This’ ticks ALL the boxes...Mayer's direction is flawless, the performances are superb, and the set is fantastic...Driver is on fire...He billows onto stage and ignites every piece of this play with his fierce performance...Russell a damsel in despair likely to marry rich but they are willing to risk it all for love - a burning desire for love knows no boundaries and stereotypes, and Wilson's play is a brilliant tribute.”
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