The human mind is the battlefield in which our sins fight for power over our souls. In Natalie Weir’s astounding masterpiece, The Seven Deadly Sins – Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Laziness, Wrath, Envy and Pride materialise, writhing before us in an attempt to win the bounty that is Thomas Gundry Greenfield, the flawed ‘man’ in whom these sins reside.
Greenfield appears inside a box attached to flickering screen. He steps outside of himself leaving behind a pallid white clone that remains in the background of the performance as a kind of anchor to the external, which signifies that all we are witnessing is the struggle internal. Sloth has lured Greenfield away to a world in which he will be tested as the other sins descend to prey upon him in a rich sixty-minute performance that will have audiences raving.
Bill Haycock’s stage and costume design is outstanding. Inspired by the Giotto di Bondone painting The Seven Vices, (in which the vices are represented by humans and encased within their own individual frames) Weir’s sins emerge inside brilliant gold boxes which both frame them with perfection and contain them. As each sin contributes to the performance, they finish up by returning to their box, dragging it where they please and they lurk inside while other sins break out to play with the man. It is a remarkably simple, yet stunningly effective theatrical device.
Sloth (Cloudia Elder) has Greenfield in her sights and she turns ‘hanging off’ into an art form. Elder’s almost boneless body drapes over and under Greenfield who slaves with the burden to animate her lazy joints as he moves them around the stage like a puppeteer, more than that, like an exoskeleton. It is quite a surreal image and it showcases the exceptional control of both performers. Greed (Daryl Brandwood) emerges from a treasure filled tomb – his frame laid long to look coffin-like – and throughout the performance he slyly continues his acquisition of things that sparkle, dragging them into his crypt like a creepy Gollum. Brandwood’s movements are unreal and unique, with a control demonstrated throughout his contortions that tells of his decades in the industry. Gluttony (Jack Ziesing) is hog-like at his trough, his interactions with man obscene; Lust (Elise May) inspires more passion than she hopes for; Envy (Rebecca Hall) is serpent-like while Pride (Benjamin Chapman) enters standing tall in golden robes and mirrored surfaces; Wrath (Michelle Barnett) interestingly cast as a woman, becomes mans undoing as the he strikes out violently at Lust.
Set to the inspired sounds of Darrin Verhagen whose musical composition aligns with the character of each sin, The Seven Deadly Sins are bewitching.