Sometimes you need a get-out clause. It’s the plays and productions you don’t want to review, not for lack of things to say but because a conventional review would be a betrayal of the experience.
So let’s do it differently. Ten cryptic puzzles, ten reasons to see Anne Washburn’s Mr Burns. And remember, it doesn’t have to make sense. But you need to remember.
1) Between beginning and end, you will travel the greatest distance (emotionally, intellectually, spiritually) you have travelled in any play. You might experience g-force physical symptoms, not least your jaw dropping to the floor. Do not be alarmed. No harm will come to you.
2) It defies definitions of “good”, “bad”, “well-made”, “unconventional”. They are irrelevant.
3) It will tell you what kind of theatregoer you are. It’s not made for a good night out. Which is not to say it’s not enjoyable. But it’s made for theatre junkies and adventurers, those who boldly go where no man, woman or child has gone before.
4) Michael Shaeffer is weirdly sexy as Mr Burns. As is Justine Mitchell, especially with a wolf tail and work boots.
5) It contains the sentence “poignant warble”. Google tells me this sentence exists only nine times on the internets.
6) What part of us will survive the end of everything? It might not be what you think.
7) Is a piece of art good because we love it, or we love it because it’s good?
8) We always knew Bart Simpson was a tragic hero.
9) In all truth, it has a fabulous cast (Demetri Goritsas, Adrian der Gregorian, Adey Grummet, Justine Mitchell, Wunmi Mosaku, Jenna Russell, Annabel Scholey, Michael Shaeffer) directed with great skill and valiant heart by Robert Icke. They will hold your hand through the journey if you hold theirs.
10) I should probably mention designer Tom Scutt. But he seemed to have so much fun with set design and costumes, this is probably the only reward that he needs.
So brush up your Simpsons and go. You might not get a chance for something like this ever again.