If good theatre should trigger, disturb and despair you, then Burnt Out is fantastic theatre. For me it triggered a reminder that extortion, manipulation, bullying and threatening behaviour can ruin lives and cause anxiety, depression, and change the course of the lives of everyone involved.
This is a hard hitting look at the darker side of life.
A young couple move into their new home and discover the house is opposite a bonfire site. The resulting sectarianism and experience the couple endure in the run up to bonfire night is a look into human behaviour and aspects of that behaviour can be transferable to other situations people can find themselves in.
Early on, there were a few laughs from the audience; but the dark undercurrent was there from very early on. The triggers were kicking in thick and fast; the extortion to keep things quiet, the intimidating behaviours and bullying, the fear of saying anything to upset the apple cart, then boom!
This is a physiological thriller and an uncomfortable look at human behaviour. It left me questioning so much. Why do humans treat each other like this sometimes, what’s the end result of intimidating someone, why do humans go on power trips to cause harm to others. I guess it’s a human behavioural flaw, to have the potential to control others, to cause them harm, to cause distress and cause untold misery. It’s a reminder to be more accepting, and to focus on equality for all, to be at peace with everything, to love and be loved, to have compassion and empathy.
The cast in Burnt Out are superb with Kerri Quinn and Terence Keeley playing Cheryl and Michael, Caroline Curran as the police officer, Caolan Byrne the older brother Donny and big lawd, and Shannen McNeice as Lesley.
What an opening to the Belfast International Arts Festival. Go and support your local venues and a top notch festival packed with local and international theatre, music and the arts.