I really enjoyed ‘Sinners’ opening night at the Lyric Theatre. Poking fun at greed and false gods, with a small g, is always good and Marie Jones has polished blind faith to a high gloss. A few women near me left at the interval – ‘not what I expected’ – but they should have stayed to appreciate the ending.
When it comes to pastors, Leslie Hale springs to mind and a friend of our family who sold her house to help him build his Faith Cathedral near Glengormley – never did. Hale’s career as an evangelist began in 1961 when he resigned from his job as a clerk in a bakery, hired a tent and advertised his gospel services in a local newspaper. His phoney American drawl, enthusiastic delivery and his message of the material benefits of salvation brought in the crowds. Pastor Walter O’Hare (Michael Condron) did much the same thing but he hadn’t reckoned on the Simpson family and their uprising when the father, (Charlie Bonner) fell for the Pastor’s line in religion.
Solid acting all round, wife Tania (Seainin Brennan) tries to seduce the Pastor, Coleen (Louise Mathews) encourages her, uncle Stanley (Alan McKee) tries to keep everything on an even keel and the others, Adele Gribbon, Michael Johnston, along with granny (Roma Tomelty) all stick their oar in! Patrick McBrearty and Christina Nelson had brilliant cameo roles that brought a lot of laughter.
The script was sharp and raced along although I missed a few of the great one liners but by and large the sound was good from where I was sitting towards the front of the auditorium. The star of the evening was the setting, except for the side of the stage with all the electronic equipment on view, a floor to ceiling fine circular curtain drawn round centre stage between scenes, changing colour according to the lighting and clever use of ‘videography’ casting moving images behind the action. I’ve never seen this before and I was very impressed. A choir of hundreds at one stage as the pastor lead us in prayer and praise. Congratulations to director Mick Gordon and his team.
SINNERS by Marie Jones
Lyric Theatre Belfast
Runs until 3d June. Book now. www.lyrictheatre.co.uk