Adam Driver and Keri Russell’s in Lanford Wilson’ revival of Burn This, is 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, maybe because Anna (Russell) keeps saying she does not want this, even though her heart does. Pale (Driver), is that bad boy women tend to gravitate to.
Anna, a dancer has just recently switch to being a choreographer is mourning the death her roommate and creative partner Robbie, a young, gay dancer who drowned in a boating accident with his lover Dom. She has spent the last couple of days at a his funeral and then at his family’s house. She is angry his family never saw him dance or acknowledges that he was gay. Her other gay roommate Larry (the fabulous Brandon Uranowitz) offers up quips, while longing for her rich screenwriter boyfriend, Burton (David Furr).
Unexpectedly and inappropriately Pale, Robbie’s cocaine-snorting, hyperactive restaurant manager brother bursts onto the scene. He is a volatile man on the edge, here to collect Robbie’s belongings. He is rude, obnoxious and self serving, until you see he is hiding a wall of grief. Anna and Pale commiserate by sleeping together. The next morning Pale acts like nothing happened. Months later he returns and the old adage of opposites attract is confirmed.
Russell is beautiful and dancer like. Driver is larger than life, wonderfully quirky and very De Niro like. Furr has more chemistry with Uranowiz who almost steals the show with his deadpan delivery.
Michael Mayer’s keeps this two hour and twenty minute show on its toes, while Derek Mclane’s set makes you envy the apartment and wish that these still existed in the land of sky high real estate.
Wilson story is more of a quirky romantic comedy. All are broken here and clinging for their lives and to anyone who will keep these fires burning.
Burn This: Hudson Theatre, until July 14th.