top of page

Scarlet Sunday | Omnibus Theatre

Scarlet Sunday, written by James Alston and directed by Imy Wyatt Corner, explores the relationship between art and artist. Yasmin, an art journalist, interviews Ava Blackwood, the daughter of the renowned late artist Ray Blackwood about his final piece Scarlet Sunday, and in doing so learns the haunting truth of his artistic process. 

The entirety of the play takes place as a conversation between Yasmin (Sorcha Kennedy) and Ava (Camilla Aiko) across two scenes. The conversation between Ava and Yasmin plays out like a tango on a tightrope, with every word carefully measured and deliberately chosen. Alston has an incredible flair for pushing and pressing the power dynamics between the two characters, with subtle yet significant shifts occurring within a line of dialogue. The conversation is tensed throughout between the characters and this also leaves the audience paralysed in rapt attention as the characters converse. This tense momentum grows from the initial awkward nervousness of Yasmin and Ava in a busy cafe, to the suffocating and sweltering studio of Ray Blackwood as the threads of his secret past is slowly unravelled. 

The two performers do a truly remarkable job. Kennedy shines as the passionate, bustling and sly Yasmin and her steadfast dedication to discovering Scarlet Sunday is pointed and almost admirable. Aiko delivers a more understated performance as the defensive, weary and tortured Ava, who grapples with the personal and public attachment and devotion to her father. 

The set design (Cat Fuller) has a number of canvas adorned around the stage, covered in dusty white clothes, and empty frames hung about, creating an almost whimsical feel for an artist's studio. The lighting by Catja Hamilton is stunning, dramatically illuminating Ava in crucial moments. The glowing of the Scarlet Sunday towards the end is another stroke of genius. It's interesting to note that there isn't much sound design (Odinn Orn Hilmarsson), preferring to let audiences to sit and stew in the loud silences between the two characters, yet sound design is slowly introduced towards the finale when words no longer matter and aids the rising the tension.

The play does a brilliant job at exploring how art is open to interpretation and the lives that it can change. Perfectly opposed, Ava and Yasmin represent the almost black and white nature of an artist, with the effects that the pieces have becoming the grey space. 

Scarlet Sunday is an incredibly strong piece that will resonate and remain with audiences long after the show. The writing and performances have been finessed to an exemplary level. Alston is a playwright to keep your eyes on. It is currently playing at the Omnibus Theatre until the 17th of March - for more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Alex Brenner


bottom of page