Director: Chris Goode
Reviewer: Glen Pearce
The confessional seems to be in vogue. Whether it is a disgraced celeb atoning for their sins to high priestess Oprah Winfrey or the more visceral bear pit of Jeremy Kyle, the need to be seen to regret transgressions is a powerful driving force.
For Scotee, though, we’re never entirely sure if the four ‘sins’ he is facing inner turmoil over are real or an attempt to give some colourful backstory to his character.
Forget the traditional confession box, though, suitably for this image and media-obsessed age, here we see the penitent confess all in a photobooth. There’s not always absolution in the confessional and here Scottee has to face the harsh, often unforgiving glare of the flashbulb.
Like anyone trying to capture their best image, though, the face offered the camera is not always an accurate representation and our first glimpse of performer, heavily made up and crying inky tears as he serenades us with Cry Me A River, somewhat throws us off course. As the stories darken, however, the make-up is shed and the musical interludes become more reflective and showing the pain behind the glitter.
It’s this exposing of the real person that proves to be the emotional hook of the piece. We’re aware that we are watching a performance, and Scottee’s admission of a history of lying in the early misdemeanours does make us question the validity of what we are being told; however, it doesn’t stop us becoming drawn into the darkness of his final tale. It’s a devastating climax, delivered with total conviction.
There’s minute attention to detail in the staging, with the photo booth concept focusing attention. There is a danger that having the performer speak for the majority of the time to the camera it could distance the audience but the use of video, with its increasingly tight focus, enhances rather than fights against the dramatic arc.
Despite the inventive staging, at the end of the day its Scottie’s charismatic performance that proves to be the real success of the evening. The show’s advertising material informs us that the show will give us reasons not to like him. The reality is actually the contrary; the man may have ‘sinned’ but are those sins caused by the man or by society?