Paul T Davies reviews Burgerz at the Traverse Theatre as part of the Edinburgh Fringe.
When someone threw a burger at them and called Travis Alabanza a tranny, they have become obsessed with burgers. How they are made, constructed, the components. In working through this, Travis gains ownership over the transphobic incident, and creates an involving piece that makes many of us question our relationship with LGBTQ people. We all know burgers, they are part of our lives. But what if that burger is really a hot dog?
Travis invites onto the stage a cis male to help him construct and cook a burger. This simple device turns the piece into a gorgeous duet. It’s difficult to imagine a nicer man than Michael, who volunteered on our night, but Travis’s gentle questioning about how Michael interacts with the world invites awareness of what it is like for Travis to even leave the house being who they are. Director Sam Curtis Lindsey appears to work in tandem with Travis, allowing the piece to breathe, and in those silences we consider how we stand with our trans friends. Once the burger is complete, the audience reaction is moving and gives us hope.
It’s an angry piece that invites us to consider trans lives, but also incredibly funny, especially as Travis ad libs with their new stage partner. It’s a unique experience that I will be unpacking for days. It’s a piece that gets under your skin. Whatever your sexual and gender identification, catch this unique experience while you can.