Despite a lot of potential and impressive vocals, the story of ‘Buried: A New Musical’ disappointingly follows the same stereotypical plot beats of any standard romantic drama.
Rose and Harry meet in true romantic fashion, trying to murder one another. Realising that they have dark desires in common, the pair team up to indulge in their obscure hobbies. Predictably, they fall in love, which they discover to be more dangerous to them than sharp knives and poisoned wine.
The story itself fits neatly into the recent trend of films and series that feature murderous partnerships to analyse the world as we know it through the eyes of a psychopath. It can be enjoyed by people who liked Netflix’s ‘The End of the F***ing World’ or ‘Thoroughbreds’. However, ‘Buried’ fails to bring any original material or observations to this sub-genre of media, as its discussion of psychopathy as a mental illness or way of life ends up mediocre and archetypal. The plot meanders towards a conclusion that is inevitable from the moment the pair meet, and without the murder scenes it would be indistinguishable from any weepy movie about supposedly fated lovers up against the pressures of an ignorant society.
There is a lot of humour in the show, including gratuitous puns about killing people, and it makes me wish that the show had leaned into the satirical, comedic aspect of the story. ‘Buried’ does not know how much it wants to take itself seriously – is it a bleak but funny investigation into societal outcasts and the performance of empathy that wants to trick its audience into sympathising with murderers? Is it a sincere, sympathetic discussion on atypical behaviour and love? It tries to be both, but cannot blend the two well, and ends up being an underwhelming Frankenstein of a show.
The folksy soundtrack of the show adds an endearing tonal dissonance, as leading woman Rose sings about finding a perfect murder victim to the tune of a gentle acoustic guitar. However, with constantly repeated themes and moods throughout, the songs risk bleeding together without a clear stand-out number amongst them. This is a shame as the lead performances are very good, but unfortunately limited by the score. The supporting cast is also hilarious and impressive, contributing to well-choreographed numbers and interludes.
NOTE: Audiences should arrive early for the opportunity to seize decent seats.
‘Buried’ is performed at Venue 302 (Ermintrude), August 12-27 at 5:10
Tickets can be purchased at the Underbelly box office or online at https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/buried-a-new-musical
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