IntheRed are a Manchester based theatre company set up by actors Laura Cope and Davinia Jokhi. Their most recent production Seven was a charismatic and thought-provoking exploration of the seven deadly sins through seven pieces of new writing.
The concept of sin has long been an alluring subject matter and undeniably conjures images of Dr Faustus bargaining with the Devil and wallowing in self-indulgence. The desire to sin is present in everyone and IntheRed have brought a new theatrical interpretation, examining each deadly sin in turn and questioning the motives behind sinning. Staged at the Three Minute Theatre Venue in Affleck’s Palace, the audience were warmly invited into the Devil’s lair for the abandonment of morality and the acceptance of damnation.
Each of the seven scenes represented a sin and varied in style, context and intent. SLOTH for example; set as a televised sleepathon unfolded, was a darkly satirical take on society’s perception of laziness and the media’s obsession with fish bowl television. It left me vowing never to watch reality TV again. PRIDE on the other hand was a naturalistic piece with emotional resonance which provided an insight into the struggles of living with dementia. Terry Naylor gave a moving and realistic performance as the sufferer refusing to give up his independence.
There were however two stand out pieces for me; WRATH, cleverly written by Si Cookson and beautifully acted by Davinia Jokhi and Laura Cope, created a world of fear, anger and desperation which I was immediately drawn into. The characters, trapped under the spell of a cult leader fought to understand their circumstances as the scene built to a tense crescendo. Also GLUTTONY; performed as a monologue by Sarah Adams was a commendable piece of theatre. Her ability to manipulate the audience reactions from laughter to uncomfortable silence in a few seconds was fascinating and I imagine there are very few actors who can get away with cramming food into their mouth in between sentences and still captivate the viewers.
After the interval LUST shocked the audience with an unexpected twist as teacher/pupil boundaries were breached in the name of desire. GREED brought some humour to proceedings when a kidnapping for ransom went wrong and in ENVY a contemplative review of life and sin was offered as the Devil showed God her errors and let jealousy creep in.
Although the quality of writing differed somewhat, I loved the creative and varied nature of the whole performance and respect is due the company for allowing new writers the opportunity to showcase their work. For any Mancunians out there I would recommend watching a future IntheRed performance or taking a trip to the Three Minute Theatre at Affleck’s Palace which offers an alternative (and affordable) theatre experience.