Without Sin @ Summerhall

A one-of-a-kind show that brings two audience members together, Without Sin calls down a lightning strike of human connection

Review by Rho Chung | 07 Aug 2023
  • Without Sin

There's something unusually high-stakes about stepping into a confessional booth, especially with a stranger. And not even a priest, at that. Without Sin can be experienced by two audience members who know each other, but, to me, the true novelty of the piece is in the passing connection of two complete strangers. The entire show is contained in a conspicuous black box featuring the word "SIN" in pink neon (a sin bin, if you will). One audience member goes into each side and is met with a simple desk, a pair of headphones, and a microphone. What passes between us through the mic, we're told, is strictly between us. 

Without Sin is one of a kind – it is as gentle as it is heart-wrenching. We are guided through a conversation using a deck of cards, but we don't get through many. The conversation flows on its own. There are a few fault lines where the conversation reaches a dead end, but the lulls always lead into something else. One of Without Sin's greatest strengths is its flexibility. Over the course of twenty minutes, audiences can get as personal as they want. At its most powerful, the piece calls down a lightning strike of human connection. It's searingly intense, and then it's gone. 

The idea is simple without being simplistic. The connection I shared with my fellow audience member/scene partner was palpable, injected with all the sensitivity and big-heartedness of the piece. I feel that, in a tiny way, I know them as I might know a friend. The concept of creating an entire show by talking to a stranger may feel unstable, but Without Sin affirms that, in a reality often devastated by lapses in communication, we still know how to talk to each other.

Without Sin, Summerhall (Courtyard), until 27 Aug (not Mondays), every 20 minutes between midday and 8pm, £7.50