Review: It’s a Sin
For Freddie Crawford, It’s a Sin is a must watch
I for one cannot conceive of any better way to celebrate LGBTQ+ history month than to highlight the feat of television that is Russell T Davies’ It’s a Sin. The hit show has caused a splash on the airwaves as one of the primary dramas to shed light on the AIDs crisis, which sadly led to the deaths of so many during the 80s and onwards.
Building on the exponentially increasing catalogue of media set in the 80s, Davies manages to add something new, presenting to younger audiences how terrifying the onset of AIDs truly was.
The show starts by following a group of ambitious and often hedonistic young men, at a time when “the plague” belonged only to our transatlantic cousins. The central characters’ storylines are all equally compelling: whether it be the volatile nature of wannabe actor Ritchie’s budding concupiscence; Ash, a drama student with similar theatrical pursuits; Roscoe, a man whose family, due to their religious zealotry, quite literally try to purge him of his sexual predilections; or Colin, the somewhat tamer and more reserved Welshman, who initially sets up shop with a tailor.
Each diagnosis, death and obstacle that the characters face destroys the viewer
As the show’s premise centres on a discussion about the AIDs crisis, obviously sex is an integral part of the show and the earthy, witty and sometimes raunchy humour of Davies at first makes light of all of this. I suspect the implications of the logistical issues deriving from intercourse can lead to awkward viewing however. Davies, refreshingly, doesn’t hold back, which is perhaps one of the reasons why the show has become so successful. A 100 per cent score on Rotten Tomatoes is no easy feat, and must, in part, be due to the rawness of the relationships and experiences that Davies conveys.
Ensconced within the humour derived from the lives and mishaps of the aforementioned larger than life personalities, lies a deeper and more poignant message which becomes clearer as the series progresses. Davies’ brave decision to make light of a subject which so many that have come before him have been fearful to do is ground breaking. Davies achieves this primarily with the panache so typical of his shows, followed by more serious and nuanced writing, rightly mirroring the hardship and struggles of the characters he presents.
Each diagnosis, death and obstacle that the characters face destroys the viewer. One’s reactions are both visceral and intensely personal, a result of the “before and after” type scenario within which Davies frames the story.
The depiction in-memoriam serves as a poignant reminder about the struggles of a community in whose legacy we still live, as well as an epitaph of their subsequent resilience.
For these reasons, the show is well worth the watch. To all it is an education of one of the worst times in recent history. It serves as an expression of dignity and respect for those who were never granted such in their own lifetimes.