Fringe Binge #1: Faith

Monday 18 July 2016

I'm thrilled to be once again reviewing the Hamilton Fringe Festival for Raise the Hammer. To read my posts from the 2015 Hamilton Fringe Festival, click here.

First up on this year's Fringe Binge, Faith, which played at Hamilton Theatre Inc. on MacNab.

Playwright: Ben Hayward
Director: Brandon Gillespie
Cast: Lindsey Middleton and Ben Hayward
Warnings: Mature Content, Strong Language, Nudity
Show Type: Drama
Audience: General
Running Time: 60 minutes

"Life is just the shit you remember," says Faith, the abrasive and self-absorbed lead in a play aptly named Faith. Clad in a leather jacket and torn jeans, Faith is a self-righteous and unlikeable teenager, with a tough exterior, but it doesn't take long for audiences to see that there's more to her than what meets the eye.

Faith is clearly struggling — with her father's death, a lack of trajectory, and a feeling that she doesn't belong anywhere, not even in church.

Faith, played by Lindsey Middleton, strikes up a friendship, and eventually an infatuation, with her calm and generous pastor — played by Faith's playwright, Ben Hayward — who is everything she's not. It's the polarity of these personalities, coupled with Hayward's sharp and pithy writing, that makes Faith memorable.

The characters' dialogue moves seamlessly between mindless banter over McDonald's burgers and heavy topics, including fatherhood, fidelity, and above all else, religion, eventually culminating in a delusional Faith breaking into her pastor's bedroom while his wife and children aren't home.

Faith is visceral and raw, employing shock value through vulgar and uncomfortable language. If you prefer theatre that's politically correct and you don't want to run the risk of being called out by Middleton's "horny and rude" character, this likely isn't the play for you.

However, if you're looking for an exuberant two-person show that's tense in just the right places, Faith's combination of physical comedy and wit will be for you.

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