Scarlet Sunday

Scarlet Sunday is a mesmerising two-hander that explores the battle of heart and mind when it comes to people we think we know, but who don't know us. Aslant Theatre Company delves into the concept of separating works of art from their nefarious creators, and inspires their audiences to answer the questions we've never thought to ask. 

70 minutes of what is essentially observed conversation whizz by as you are entirely invested in unravelling the web of secrets around celebrities and their criminal histories - in both their personal and professional lives. In a time of cancel-culture and high stakes politics, this play feels more relevant now than ever. It sheds light on discussions that should, but don't, get enough air time. 

Both actors completely own the space, and are a force of social inspiration. You wholeheartedly believe you are just a fly on the wall in their world, and it is a privilege. This sensation is great to begin with, until it starts to turn. This is where director Imy Wyatt Corner has done a fantastic job of holding us accountable for our cultish obsessions, even though this may make us complicit in an artist’s crimes. As these uncomfortable truths are slowly uncovered, we are encouraged to question how they are typically masked, and even more so: why do we allow it?

You must credit the verbatim feeling of the script to its writer James Alston, as he facilitates such open and honest conversation. While this reflects the archetypal characters, it is also relatable and invites us into the piece as silent contributors. The fact it is not an interactive play, but indeed a very immersive one, nods to the idea of reclaiming voices for those who are usually ignored. Camilla Aiko does this especially well and gives so much visibility to survivors of violence and abuse, while remaining truthful and respectful to this narrative. 

Cat Fuller’s choice to dress the antagonistic Sorcha Kennedy in a nylon long sleeved top, while this character regularly commented about being warm, was incredibly clever and akin to the portrayal of a ‘Curator of Modern Art’. As someone who was always talking about what's beneath while maintaining a professional exterior, this was a great metaphor for her character. Throughout the play she ignored her outfit and the fact it was impractical for fear of ruining her style or the way she looked. This was particularly poignant as the play closes in such a way that we can hear but no longer see her, rendering the entire charade pointless. 

This is mirrored in the layout of the space, with a split down the middle for both the cast and audience - a comment on divisiveness as a key theme. Not only did the creative team seem uninhibited by the black box space, they actively put it to good use. Without spoiling any scenes, it was such a fulfilling way to utilise all areas of the venue without accidentally devising a promenade piece. 

Although the aisles of the auditorium are kept clear, the audiences are absolutely obligated to form their own thought processes based on the stimuli that is ‘Scarlet Sunday’. This is a phenomenal achievement given that the protagonist of the piece is only ever described, and never actually shown to us. 

Running at The Omnibus Theatre until 17th March, I would urge anyone to grab a ticket while you can. This show will really get you thinking.   

This show was reviewed on the 1st March 2024.  Tickets available here: SCARLET SUNDAY - Omnibus Theatre (omnibus-clapham.org)

Review written by Katie McConnell

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Photo credit: Alex Brenner

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You can also watch our interview with star of Scarlet Sunday, Sorcha Kennedy here: https://youtu.be/6xHGhZRDcj8?si=qtUh4EJVmwBte-Ux

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