SINFUL: 7 Comedy Shorts For Seven Deadly Sins

Thu 2nd – Sun 26th August 2012

reviews

Oliver Arnoldi

at 10:06 on 3rd Aug 2012

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The walk from the cobbled courtyard of the Three Sisters into the lantern-endorsed tepee that turned out to be the setting for Carly Tarett’s ‘Sinful’ is a seamless one. Yet the transition from a real-life pub square to a clear display of comedic talent is unfortunately not.

Conducting a one-woman show, Tarett wants the audience to follow her on a modern parable of the seven deadly sins. Whilst she attempts to guide the audience’s imagination (and at times she succeeds), all too often it is difficult not to be left bemused by the way in which she handles the seven sketches that comprise the hour.

‘Gluttony’ emerges in the form of Bex, a Mancunian fitness instructor whose motivational shouts create a landscape of the physically challenged, from doughnut-eating Jennifer to “meat-peddling temptress Vera”. Subsequently, the performance turns from the incongruous confessions of a bourgeois lady (‘Lust’) to the mocking tones of an investment banker (‘Greed’); then onto an adult reading a primary school class 'Little Red Riding Hood' (‘Wrath’), who feels that an expletives-filled deconstruction of it is the only way to highlight its fundamental plot-holes. These scenes are not explicitly distasteful, but it is apparent that, due to the character types they portray being commonplace, what they offer as entertainment reaches saturation point almost before they begin.

It should be noted that parts of the shorts have moments of merit, especially in Tarett’s distinctive repertoire of accents, yet with each persona also comes a reconsideration of whether it lends a greater significance to the performance as a whole. As the representations of the sins are so diverse in characterisation and expression, it becomes increasingly difficult to identify any sort of continuity in the piece, and consequently it provokes the fundamental point of why the skits are ordered as they are.

This is the biggest frustration with the show; it is not that Tarett is lacking in talent, but in incorporating a socially clichéd ensemble of sinners she gleams too quickly over each character without allowing the audience ample time to engage with the vices they attempt to embody. As a result, whilst the construction of the show should pander towards the tastes of everyone in the audience, Tarett attempts to nail seven brands of humour and succeeds fully at none.

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Joel Singer

at 10:08 on 3rd Aug 2012

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Given an intimate home in a white marquee, aptly named the Yurt Locker, this Free Fringe production of a one-woman show has some good ideas but ultimately fails in its basic aim: to make the audience laugh. The show presents quite a simple concept: the 7 deadly sins presented as separate vignettes, each making a satirical reference to modern culture. There are positives to be found in this performance, such as the range of personae created by Carly Tarett and the variety of accents on show. Yet ultimately the majority of the sketches failed to impress either with originality of thought or comedic value, and in the end proved difficult to watch.

While the show was well thought out in parts, it often seemed to suffer from cliché, such as an imagined fitness class devouring doughnuts (representing gluttony). Equally, the show was at times cringeworthy, for example in Tarett’s attempt at political satire with an impersonation of David Cameron’s “pride” at the ill-fate of the NHS. During certain segments, namely lust and greed, she manages to reverse the evident hackneyed thought-process, but due to the writing these twists can rarely be commended for their comedic value. Even sketches that seemed to offer comic potential were often over-exaggerated and unnecessarily drawn out, such as an expletive-ridden reading of Little Red Riding Hood, as a nursery teacher incredulously points out the obvious plot flaws to her class (seemingly representing wrath.) Amongst these uninspiring sketches, there remained humorous segments, such as two original musical pieces, “Two Sheets of Andrex” and “It’s Not M.E., It’s Just Me” (representing sloth).

Ultimately, although the production viewed was a preview and therefore will undoubtedly be further polished, it is hit-and-miss throughout and can hardly be described as a laugh-an-hour, let alone a laugh-a-minute comedy. The hallmark of a good one-woman show is both effortless and seamless and Tarett demonstrated neither in her performance, making it unlikely to merit the hour of allotted time.

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