Dir. Grant Smeaton, Tron Theatre, 22nd October – 1st November
presented as part of Glasgay!
Raymond Burke’s Cardinal Sinne is part of the Glasgay! festival, an arts festival that celebrates LGBTQ+ culture. It is a play about homosexuality among catholic priests and how this is treated in the Catholic Church, where priests are expected to be celibate and homosexuality is classed as a sin.
Cardinal Sinne, the eponymous protagonist, is the Cardinal of Scotland and about to head to Rome to help elect the next Pope. Just before he leaves he is confronted by people from his past asking about his sexuality and threatening his reputation, along with a representative from the Vatican asking about his liberal views on marriage of priests. He drags a young priest and his housekeeper in to the chaos, trying to enlist them to help him, which only leads to more confusion.
The play is based on confusion of characters and plays out in a way that is reminiscent of a Shakespearian comedy, and similarly hilarious. Amongst all the outrageous humour there are moments of sober quiet prayer from Cardinal Sinne which give the play depth and honesty.
The issue of homosexuality and the questionable morals accused of being held in the Catholic Church can be highly controversial and it is very easy to criticise the church. Often this issue is presented with blame and negativity, however Cardinal Sinne handles this very well, with class and sensitivity. The church itself and the moral code it presents is never condemned, merely the actions of specific priests. The aim of the play is not to judge but simply to explore the issue, while guaranteeing to at least make you chuckle along the way.
This sensitivity, along with the humour, makes this a very enjoyable play, despite the ridiculousness of its premise and comedy.