A Beast/A Burden

glass half productions · Ages 18+ · world premiere · United States of America

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Review by JAMES NEUBERGER
June 15, 2018

What I liked

I didn’t like much. I loved a lot. We’ll start with Ben Hethcoat as Burden. Blown away. Never seen this guy act before but he’s a real discovery. Couldn’t take my eyes off him for a second. I almost don’t want to look up footage of the real Burden so I can just keep this version of him in my head. That performance is all angst and energy and sex and violence. If Fringe doesn’t give him all the awards, I’ll be pretty disappointed. I also loved Anthony Perez particularly in the scene where he’s visiting Burden during the exhibit. Such a natural energy there that really made the scene come alive. I loved Jessica DeShaw as Burden’s wife. Her monologue at the end of the show is a jaw dropper. The writing is unbelievably good – again, give this guy all the awards. The voice was so clear and distinct and the humor was so subtle and unexpected. It blends comedy and drama pretty flawlessly.

What I didn't like

Another theatre in Los Angeles could give this show a full and proper mounting so more audiences can experience what I did.

My overall impression

Wow. Just wow. Knew nothing about Chris Burden going into this show. Never even been to the museum to see his pieces there. Only went to the show because the other Fringe show I was seeing was sold out. So glad I did. This was the best show I’ve ever seen at Fringe, and I’ve seen a few. It was so polished and well thought out and confident that it could have been a professional production on a professional stage. There is something awesome about watching people strip down theatre to its bare essentials, and that’s what this show does. It’s a show about art and artists and it doesn’t really worry too much about all the trappings and bullshit that usually weigh that sort of stuff down. This is a show that knows what it is.

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