Love The Sinner

May 17 2023 | By More

★★★★★   Masterful

Traverse: Tue 16 – Wed 17 May 2023
Review by Suzanne O’Brien

Imogen Stirling does not miss a beat in Love The Sinner, an enthralling fusion of poetry and electronic music created in collaboration with Vanishing Point at the Traverse for two nights only.

With the pressures and expectations that we all face, is sin-like behaviour forgivable? Or is it just dangerously consuming? Love The Sinner, directed by Matthew Lenton, is a modern reimagining of the seven deadly sins which bring the sins to life and explores their behaviour.

Imogen Stirling and Sonia Killmann in Love the Sinner. Pic: Andy Ross Images

Sloth, the first of the sins Stirling introduces us to, chooses to spend her days lying in bed watching Friends. For her, the comfort of being indoors seems far better than being confronted, judged, and constantly compared to previous generations. On Sloth’s rare venture out of her cluttered bedroom and into the rainy city, she comes across modern incarnations of the six other deadly sins.

We see a glimpse into the life of each sin – Envy, Greed, Gluttony, Pride, Lust, Wrath – as Sloth passes them by and through the towering windows of high-rise flats which loom above her. Through the sins, Stirling highlights that temptation surrounds us at every corner and with the increasing rise of social media and the easy access to pornography, alcohol and cheap streaming services, temptation only seems to be growing.

detailed observational writing

Stirling’s lyricism echoes that of Kae Tempest. She has a quality and strong ability to evoke emotion through her detailed observational writing and this is matched with a masterful performance. Despite the sins’ deadly nature, her lyrics uncover reasons for sinful behaviour and recognisable vulnerabilities within them that occasionally provoke a level of sympathy.

Each sin is accompanied by hypnotic video and projection, designed by Ellie Thompson. Small moveable sets designed by Alisa Kalyanova give visual clues to their behaviour. It is just the right amount to enhance our understanding of each sin’s individual character traits and never once detracts from or overpowers the lyrical content.

Imogen Stirling and Sonia Killmann in Love the Sinner. Pic: Andy Ross

Sarah Carton’s pulsating score enhances the rhythm of the poetry and makes you want to move along with it. Subtle changes in tempo and tone across the sins flow with uninterrupted ease.

Positioned at the front of the stage, facing Stirling, Sonia Killman provides additional music and live performance. Although Stirling is the focus, it very much feels like a partnership between them and when their voices come together it is hauntingly beautiful.

This is a powerful show which will encourage you to reflect on your own behaviour and that of those around you. It is certainly not essential to understand every detail or reference within the stories for their full impact to be felt.

Running time: One hour and 10 minutes (no interval)
Traverse, 10 Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED.
Tue 16/Wed 17 May 2023
Evenings: 7.30pm (Traverse 1)
Tickets and details: Book here.


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