Review by Christine Burton
Rare. Medium. Well-done.
Burnt at the Steak was all three.
This ‘rare’ gem is the true story of Carolann Valentino, a misplaced Italian living in Texas who moves to the Big Apple to pursue her dream of a life in show business. Along the way she goes to work as a manager at an up-scale steak house to pay the bills. But with the constant pressure to ‘be there’ for her co-workers, will she ever get to the auditions she needs to do if she’s to make it to Broadway and beyond? Her mother – a bit of a psychic ‘medium’ thinks so… And maybe mom knew, but didn’t tell Carolann that the collection of oddballs with whom she worked would become the fodder for an incredibly ‘well-done’ series of character sketches that will leave you ‘in the pink’.
Valentino is a ball of fire for the entire hour, singing, dancing, practically shape-shifting as she brings her family and co-workers to life with devastating physical and perfectly accented humour. But she’s never mean. Even the drunk patron, the ditzy greeter and the patronizing maitre d’ are portrayed with humanity. If this is a demonstration of her fundamental character, it’s no surprise that she was an excellent manager, and I’m glad that she did, therefore, finally decide to turn her back on celebrity guests, big pay cheques and grilled meats, and pursue her show biz dream – although the Fringe can’t possibly pay as well!
It’s small wonder this show is consistently a ‘best of fest’ five-star winner: both the material and the performance are top notch. We are fortunate to have Carolann Valentino and Burnt at the Steak on our program. This is MUST-SEE fest. Do NOT miss this show!
Burnt at the Steak is playing at Venue 3 – Academic Hall on Saturday June 21 (21:30), Sunday June 22 (16:30), Tuesday June 24 (21:30), Friday June 27 (18:30) and Saturday June 28 (22h). Tickets are $10.