Thursday, 6 November 2014

FIRE AND ICE: Tulloch's taut, twisty Sins of the Flesh heats up the stage

MAKING A SCENE: Scott-Stewart and Williams go at it, as Reid looks on. Below, another scene from the play.

Sins of the Flesh (Probemaster Entertainment)
Director: David Tulloch
Cast: Orrin Scott-Stewart, Belinda Reid, Renee Williams, Shana Wilson, and Michael Nicholson
Venue: Green Gables Theatre, Kingston

Things are not what they seem in Sins of the Flesh, a lacerating new marital drama from ace writer-producer-director David Tulloch which, despite its momentary lapses and over-the-top title, is a treat for audiences who like to pay attention.

We are introduced to Alistair Robinson (Orrin Scott-Stewart) and Gina Robinson (Renee Williams), an attractive young couple whose relationship blows hot and cold, as the marriage starts to grow wan. While Alistair is the promotion-hunting insurance salesman with a taste for something on the side, Gina is the frustrated housewife and stay-at-home mom who plays her cards very close to the chest. But with his eyes on the prize, Alistair could care less. "What could possibly go wrong? I'm on a roll," he brags to his wife one evening. If only he knew.

Brimming with tension, sexual heat and wicked plot twists, Sins of the Flesh dually trades on Tulloch's signature cocktail of lust, lies and domestic dysfunction. But the main attraction is the fired-up team of actors, a balanced mix of old pros and fresh faces.
Played with ballast and wide-eyed fervour, Scott-Stewart's Alistair comes across as a seasoned playa who has met his match in Gina (played with slinky seductiveness by Williams) who, out of the blue, hires Richard, a dim-witted gardener/handyman (Michael Nicholson, terrific). But Richard's announcement, "I am here to take care of all the problems in this house," sounds ominously like a warning in code. Rounding out the gang are seasoned actress Belinda Reid as the pepper-seed housekeeper Shanda and Shana Williams, Alistair's sugar-and-spice secretary Michelle Duncan — two key supporting roles rooted in feminine wiles.

Though not as outrageous as Risque and certainly not as safe as Paternal Instinct, the ambitious Sins of the Flesh continues Tulloch's feverish engagement with human morality and other provocative ideas that push the boundaries and toss out the rulebook. True, the play sags a bit around the middle, but thankfully it doesn't lose its way entirely, setting the stage for a jaw-dropping finale that plays like something out of a Fincher thriller. Tyrone's Verdict: B+

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