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Sin | Union Theatre

Sin is written and directed by John Michael Mahoney, with musical direction by Angelo Deller-Tsocos. Set in 1920s Manhattan, the musical follows the lives of a small group of low level criminals who decide to invest a small family inheritance into opening a bar to become richer. However with sordid pasts, hidden motives and betrayal tearing at them, things aren't as straightforward as they first seem. 

The songs are the show's strongest point, elevating the scenes and characters highly. With several strong ensemble numbers, including an opening number that reminds one slightly of Hamilton, in the catchy and effective use of lyrics. Each member of the main cast are given invidual or duet songs, allowing them to showcase their vocals. The cast are talented and they each shine during these musical moments, belting out the brilliant songs. Michael, Sarah and Jack in particular are given solo songs that are gripping, moving and powerful, delivering stand out moments in the musical. 

However, the narrative frequently lets this brilliant soundtrack down. The plot is a little messy in terms of pacing, often skipping over pivotal moments or overlapping scenes that have no relation with one another. Characters resort to extreme measures or aggressive arguments, resulting in dire consequences without explanation or less dramatic first attempts to defuse problems. The premise is original and holds immense potential and with a little reworking, Sin is destined to shine. 

The concept unfolds itself well to become a musical with defined characters and relationships, yet the narrative falters in bringing them together. Sin tries to cover one too many twists, and in continually placing characters in drastic situations, forfeiting the opportunity for character development, which sadly prevents the audience from rooting for any of the characters. There are glimpses of layers to be explored but unfortunately this doesn't take place. This results in the characters feeling two dimensional, and thus with performances feeling slightly stilted.

Taylor Quinnell does an incredible job as the kind hearted, timid Sarah, highlighting her fear and anguish. Charlie Toland and Harry Osborne as Jack and Michael are both great, balancing each other well with their contrasting subtle and passionate performances.  Camile Reid as Grace gives a particularly emotional performance yet the lack of character development doesn't quite allow for the audience to sympathise with her. Renan Teodore as Otto becomes a lovable yet misplaced character in the story, wishing only to earn quick money to live out his peaceful dream and becomes the only character the audience will want to root for. Sam, portrayed by Houston McDowall, becomes the unexpected heart of the show, despite being overshadowed frequently by other characters. 

Aptly set in a large warehouse space, with brick walls and the sounds of trains thundering by, the minimalistic set design allows to be multiple locations. With a wooden framework in a corner and a bar table set up, the show allows for the actors to really use the space. The lighting (Joe Roebuck) is quite bright, using coloured lighting, which does distract slightly but sets the tone well. The team of Sin the Musical have thoughtfully issued a trigger sheet that audience members can access pre-show, that clearly states any distressful scenes or loud noises. 

Sin the Musical effectively highlights the many sins that stem from being human and the lasting consequences. With an interesting world, and really strong songs and sense of direction, Sin has the potential to grow into a powerful and intelligent musical. It is currently playing at the Union Theatre until the 2nd of March. For more tickets and information, you can follow the link here.


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review


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