Edinburgh Footlights’ SEVEN is a wonderful example of a community of people with a huge amount of talent who have come together to produce something really powerful. The show is divided into sections, one for each of the seven deadly sins. Each one is cleverly illuminated by a different colour and accompanied by a projected symbol, so it’s clear which sin is being focused on. However even without these elements, the perfect selection of songs for each sin make it obvious enough. From angsty rock songs like ‘They Don’t Really Care About Us’ for Wrath, to the powerful ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ for Sloth, an impressively extensive range of songs are performed in this showcase, all to an incredibly talented and passionate degree. There is even a chance for a High School Musical number in the Greed section, paired with a kick-line to rival The Rockettes.
Despite the negative nature of the seven deadly sins, Footlights sets out to reimagine the ‘deadly’ aspect, creating a production that shines a positive light on each. This leads to a celebration of feminism, identity and coming to terms with who you are and what you feel. In a particularly moving end to the first act, the Sloth section is devoted to mental health awareness, battling the stereotype of laziness associated with depression. It focuses on the need for the support and strength that can be found within oneself, beautifully performed in the high energy number ‘I Will Survive/Survivor’ which, whilst contrasting with the rest of the emotive songs in this section, acts as the perfect for showing the perseverance and power of those battling mental health problems.
What makes SEVEN so enjoyable and impressive is the involvement of the full cast in so many of the numbers. It’s hard to see how they seamlessly keep the energy and motivation constant throughout the whole show, as the sheer amount of songs and choreography is staggering. There is no room for errors, of which there are none, making it all the more entertaining. Every performer fully engages the audience, with particular sections resonating heavily as they deal with the very relatable themes of mental health and pride in identity.
Even whilst handling these themes in a mature way, the show still has room to be light-hearted and funny, exemplified in the hilarious rendition of ‘Turn It Off’ from The Book of Mormon which transforms Gluttony into a humorous insight into self-indulgence. The Lust section is another definite crowd favourite, with an amazingly fast-paced and entertaining medley of songs celebrating liberation and challenging the idea of the sinfulness of lust.
It is obvious that an immense amount of effort and heart has gone into this production, and this should be commended. The standing ovations and ongoing applause prove the success of this well directed and choreographed production, one that refreshingly reimagines many of our flaws and so-called ‘sins’ as positive aspects of ourselves to be celebrated and embraced.
Teviot Debating Hall
Image: Andrew Perry