Travis Alabanza is the definition of extraordinary. BURGERZ, the solo performance show written and performed by Travis Alabanza and directed by Sam Curtis Lindsay debuted last Friday at Hackney Showroom to a full house of familiar queer faces all in attendance to watch and explore the story and trauma inspired by a horrifying experience. The powerful play, which drew inspiration from Travis having a burger thrown at their head at Waterloo Bridge followed by shouts of transphobic slurs whilst nobody did anything. The performance was filled with emotion, laughs and of course a burger!
The set which was designed by Soutra Gilmour, was styled after what appeared to be one big box filled with multiple small cardboard boxes on the inside and a fully functioning kitchen countertop, which is where most of the performance took place. Travis, called upon the assistance of any white, cis, male member of the audience (Davy) to join them onstage to assist with the making of a burger from scratch. The set up reminded me of Ready, Steady, Cook! but with a more entertaining and warm presence. From chopping vegetables, mincing meat to serving alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, Travis’ interaction with Davy set up several moments of intense monologues resulting in a few questions being thrown back and forth from Travis to Davy and the audience.
Making it clear from the beginning that this was not a moment of sadness, however, more of a moment to reflect, Travis openly spoke about the past incidents that they have experienced including a Topshop incident which occurred last year. Reflecting on how the media treated them during this time, Travis explored the importance of trans bodies. It was clear that everyone in the room was captivated and intrigued during the whole show. As a queer and a woman of colour, this play touched me in more ways than one. I walked away from BURGERZ feeling warm-hearted and understanding that the LGBT community needs to do more to protect trans lives.
Travis confronted their pain with delicious humour and their flamboyant personality that shined beyond the stars. As a prominent face for the trans community, they proved that they are indeed unstoppable. I really enjoyed the show and cannot wait to see what Travis is cooking up for us next.
BURGERZ is playing at the Hackney Showroom until November 3rd. Tickets are available here.