Sin – Q Theatre

Who wouldn’t be intrigued and a little titillated by the idea of going to a play entitled SIN. Outfit Theatre Company’s ambitious new production delves into the role of sin in our lives, with the Seven Deadly Sins at its foundation: sloth, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, pride and wrath.

A large cast of characters takes to the stage; their stories are all linked, but we are not privy to the ins and outs of the connections until later in the piece. As the play goes on, it becomes clear that we are being presented sin in its very human form – it does not necessarily have to be glamorous, sordid, or even dramatic or extreme. Sin is part of our daily lives.

The style of storytelling mirrors that of large-ensemble films like ‘Love Actually’; many stories told in small snippets, vaguely intertwined but all different. The standouts are Virgil and Izzy: a gannet enthusiast (of course) completely enveloped in his research and his girlfriend the greenie activist trying to save the planet while at the same time secretly gorging herself on the junk food she is so opposed to. Actors Arlo Macdiarmid and Ema Barton are very well matched here, making their scenes funny and relatable to watch. In fact, the entire play is easy to watch (no mean feat for a play spanning two hours) thanks to the confident acting, skilful use of sound and seamless scene changes, these are pros doing what they do best.

Though Virgil and Izzy are real and likeable, more clichéd characters do appear, such as Bella the ditsy beauty consultant who will go to any length to please the ‘right’ man. There’s Martin the trust-fund kid squandering and embezzling daddy’s money, and happy to take advantage of Bella’s loose morals. It’s not hard to guess which of the ‘deadly sins’ might be at play with these two, however their story seems to be hollow. I kept waiting for the moment when my expectations might be overturned or challenged, but it never came. There are a lot of stories being told here, and I wondered if some deft script editing might have paid off to give the work a clearer message in the end.

The lone mysterious figure Damien opens and closes the play, leaving us with the question of the sins we commit in our own lives. Should we resist or embrace them?

SIN is at Q’s Rangatira Theatre until 18 July.

Reviewed by Steph Bean.