The Hollywood Fringe Presents “Sins”
Written and directed by William Thompson.
This is a tough show to review without giving away its secrets. So I will try my very best not to. Suffice it to say it is definitely one of the best shows I have seen this Fringe and anywhere.
It begins pretty traditionally. The lead takes the stage and all too soon we understand that this play was written with the idea that he could unburden himself from his terrible past somehow. Find clarity, meaning, or simply tell his story as a cautionary tale, sharing his pain with a view to dissipating it.
But it all takes a very unexpected turn when a member of the audience, in a rather vocal diatribe of extreme umbrage, unceremoniously pontificates about his time being wasted by yet another opus from a broken man seeking solace. As the man takes to the stage to confront the by now very confused and stumbling actor, we are taken on a ride down a deep, deep rabbit hole, one that I will not soon forget.
This kind of play where the fourth wall is completely shattered and the actors flail about in their response to it is technically very ambitious and easy to get wrong. But “Sins” gets it very, very right. So right in fact that even up to the very end we are holding tight on to the velvety arms of our seats, holding our breath and grinning from ear to ear.
It’s theatre at its most intimidating and surreal, but without any of the flash. It’s challenging and compelling and unforgiving. The actors are absolutely excellent. They sell their stupefaction and their sublime horror at the cocky interloper with shocking expertise. It feels real, to the point that, for a good few minutes after this stranger mounted the stage, I thought it could be. Each of them reacted with brilliant and perceptive elegance. Each of them owned everything they did on stage and the result was absolutely incredible…