Thrown into the lives of five characters, Ken Jaworoski’s
Acts of Redemption reveals moments of loss, regret, realisation and confession, where a snippet of life is captured in a single moment.
The show opens in a bar, while the first monologue Never Smile, Never Wave (performed by Akila Cristiano) explores the life of a middle class snob who looks down her nose at women with ‘inferior’ manners. Notably, her description is comical in places, and her disdain for the woman waving her ‘hoof’ is particularly entertaining. The ending is equally charming, as we find her in the bar to give a new shirt (Prada, she states) to the man she met previously, she spots him across the room with a smile and a wave, a moment of self realisation.
It opens well, and the next section follows with a fusing of three monologues which overlap and jaggedly weave together, each reliving moments within a broken structure. James Huntington’s closeted story rises to the surface where we learn of his ‘coming out’ to his authoritative father – a familiar storyline for a gay teen – but beautifully written. In the centre, Amee Smith’s monologue tells the story of her dying father who longed to return to the place where he proposed to his wife before he passed. And stage right, Dan Lees becomes Superdad to defeat the bullies at his son’s school, yet drastically ending with an accident. All have strong moments of comedy which helped to relieve moments of darkness; unfortunately the monologues lacks flare, due to wooden acting and repetitive inflection.
The next monologue partly salvages the show and was refreshingly different. Rachel Parris monologue Luck of the Draw is about a young woman who finds her boyfriend’s winning lottery ticket and secretly plans to move away and start a new life. Though a well-written piece, it still lacked some bite. Unfortunately the ending wasn't as powerful as its opening, and was once again wooden and lacked calibre – which was a shame for the standard of the writing. An entertaining time-twisting monologue and a strange incident about a dog serve as ideal material, but are let down by a lack of connection and characterisation.
The show is a recipe with all the wrong ingredients. It consists of well-written monologues and all are balanced between comedy and drama, though the majority of performances were unfortunately forgettable.