Edinburgh Fringe 2014
The Maryland-based New Salisbury Players present an interesting collection of performances that explore the seven deadly sins. One or more of the sins play their part in six scenarios that amuse, delight and surprise. Directed by Tom Anderson, the talented cast of five perform multiple roles bringing each scene vividly to life. Spread around a table, the cast offer up the questions of what the seven sins make us do. Once the scene has been set, the perverse dramas begin to unfold.
Two couples sit having a drink and a casual chat. Left alone, the two males begin to discuss how each find the other’s girlfriend attractive. What ensues is a series of embarrassing conversations as the truth first becomes apparent – then the plan of how to take this forward begins. Will they succeed?
After a visit to his homeland, a young African male student returns to his girlfriend who is studying law. The trip with his family has made him prioritise his life and he is now looking for commitment. However his loving girlfriend is delighted until he explains what she must give up. Will she accept his offer? A couple meet on a blind date that has come about form a dating site. She is much younger than her profile had revealed. The male is confused about why she has come to meet him until she makes him an offer he can’t refuse. Does he take it? A young girl and a recently imprisoned boy’s father meet to apologise to each other. He has come to apologise to her for his son’s crimes, and she has come to make the biggest confession of her life. Will he and can he ever forgive her?
As each scene is revealed we realise that the protagonists are all left with a dilemma. Will they or wont they take what has been offered to them?
Each actor appears cast in a different role and instantly their persona is believable. From pushy prospective girlfriend to proud wife, or hesitant lecturer to slothful student, there are no chinks in the performance. The cast show a real understanding of necessary timing before revealing or responding to their individual bombshells and it’s a pleasure to watch. In general, it’s a light hearted look at the subject matter, punctuated with brief moments of gravity. This is reflected by the audience, who clap after some scenes but sit quietly pensive after others.
There are some real moments of tension and surprise, and each short drama is brimming with unpredictable potential which keeps you guessing. The only static prop is the centre-stage table, with each new scene adjusted by a tablecloth, laptop or actor’s personal prop. It reminded me why I am perpetually drawn to theatre, as the range of comedy, tragedy and pathos all make an appearance. It’s a good fun piece with solid performances by a troupe of young actors who absolutely know their stuff.