Burnt at the Steak – Very Well Done

Ian Huffam

Even if Burnt at the Steak is too tough for you to chew, you’ve got to admit that Carolann Valentino is on fire. In 60 minutes she goes through 10 songs, which are sung by a cast of 18 characters diverse in age, gender, social class, and geographical origin – and she seems to have just as much energy at the end of the show as she does at the start.

To give a proper plot explanation, Burnt at the Steak follows Valentino’s real-life experiences moving from Texas to NYC to follow her theatrical dreams. Every actor starting out needs a day job though, and Valentino finds herself the manager of a multi-floor luxury steakhouse in Manhattan. It’s a good paycheck, but the employees she manages are amusingly whiny and useless and the job begins to consume her soul.

This show is full of off-beat humour – one particularly memorable song is sung by an attractive British customer whose secret to attracting rich American men is not to wear underwear, and that’s only one song. Other characters include an airheaded hostess, vomit-phobic Mexican busboys, drunken patrons with wandering hands, a man-hungry steak savante, Valentino’s charmingly ineffective elderly co-manager, and the closest thing this show has to a villain: the greasy maitre’d.

Valentino plays every single one of these characters, but none of them feel like riffs on the same theme. The songs aren’t fully original in that they mostly are rewritten lyrics to familiar songs, but this is helpful for the audience participation element – another reason for the very high energy in this show. Valentino really knows how to reach out to an audience, even without making any of them speak onstage.

This isn’t a deep, thoughtful show, but it’s a high-energy hour of silly fun and raunchy humour, and extremely skilled performance. You’ll be laughing long after the curtain call, when Valentino lets all 18 characters bow.

 

Created and Performed by Carolann Valentino

Venue 3 Academic Hall

Show times here