Love The Sinner. The greatest problem facing Christianity is the question of adaptability. Should it change with the times? should it not? should it compromise? What should be its vices or core values, how might this affect its voice in the changing world. There is nothing black and white about such a decision, or about the process of making such a decision, it is not, cannot and will never be so.
Love the sinner starts with this dialogue where all the factors come in to play. In the opening scene (a conference in an African country) leaders of the faith talk more like politicians, negotiating around the topic. They parry and thrust their points back and forth showing the complexity of the debate. From the African leaders who claim to have a purer hold of Christianity but feel they have to bow to the word from the west, to the bible-belt Americans, to voices that represent a more liberal approach.
Describing this first scene as a cover letter, the play dives into a most visceral case study which centres on ‘Michael’. We first see Michael as the minute-keeper of the above meeting, he sleeps with ‘Joseph’ the African porter working at the hotel where the conference is held. This intermingling of their fates begins what I now call ‘The Wire’ factor. - What I love about the ground breaking t.v. series is it borderlessness: how it takes a simple case of drug dealing and effectively runs the entire spectrum of the subject from the addicts to the smugglers, police officers, crooked politicians, broken families, vigilantes, traitors, reformists, EVERYTHING. Love the sinner leaves the conference and returns to the U.K. with Michael, it shows the repercussions of his actions, and how when Joseph on his doorstep fleeing torture from his homeland, it further brings the issue home. The play touches on international development, colonialism and its legacy, the public image of the church, immigration, torture, human rights, the concept of family within British Society, the concept of love, motherhood, masculinity... the list goes on. And it does all this keeping Michael and Joseph central to the story with such perfect touches of humour, of humanity... it is disgustingly good.
It is directed by Matthew Dunster, written by Drew Pautz and runs at the Cottesloe at the National Theatre until 10th July.
**SPECIAL £20 TICKET OFFER // Get top price tickets for just £20 (save £12) for select evening performances of Love the Sinner on 22 May and 3, 4, 5, 14, 16 June. // To book online enter the Promotion Code 2704 before you select your seats. Or, call Box Office on 020 7452 3000 and quote ‘Special £20 Offer’.