Redundant lottery tickets, unexpected meetings on nights out, fathers and a curious incident of a dog in the nighttime: A.K.A., the ingredients of Acts of Redemption, Ken Jaworowski’s touching series of monologues.
The style is reminiscent of Ella Hickson’s Eight: heart-warming, occasionally comedic, occasionally tragic tales of the everyday. Some are quirky, comedic anecdotes whereas some are memories steeped in nostalgia.
Acts of Redemption definitely finds its emotional footing in the second scene, Pulse. James Huntington, Amee Smith and Dan Lees each offer compelling insights into the role of the father in their lives, and we flicker between each character. This split-screen style allows the scene to build to more of a climax, managing to hold our attention a little more.
This is not to demean the work of Akila Christiano, Rachel Parris and Joe Wreddon, each of whom performs their monologue with effortless conviction. But this is a play that seems to work better when the dynamic is shared between three performers at once. There’s no denying, however, that Acts of Redemption features six incredibly talented actors, all who manage to evoke honesty without seeming overtly polished or rehearsed.
The common theme among each separate section is there – the clue is in the title, after all – but it doesn’t quite seem to be pushed enough. The four stories/monologues function brilliantly on their own, but they’ve been saddled together for a reason and this doesn’t come through with enough clarity. The narrative through-line exists in the monologues themselves, but they seem to be trapped in their own thematic bubbles. They all seem rather tenuously linked, and more consistency between the separate scenes would’ve made this play truly brilliant.
Acts of Redemption is playing at Underbelly Cowgate (venue 61) until 30 August. For more information, visit the Fringe website.