Image: Tristan Bates Theatre
Sophie bursts back into her brother’s life, on the run from trouble after going missing for two years.
Can she lure Sam away from domestic coupledom to rekindle their old crime partnership and save her skin?
Balaclavas, wigs, jewels and forbidden passions collide in this tough-talking, fast-swindling dark comedy thriller.
Though society frowns on crime to the extent that it is happy to lock-up the perpetrators, we also have an obsessive fascination with the subject and are willing to pay for the pleasure of being entertained by it.
So, there's always ample room in TV, film and theatre schedules for yet another story about criminals and their endeavours.
Crime stories, of course, fall into several sub-categories - like the ones that are basically comedic, or those that aim to tell a gripping and realistic account of some heist, kidnapping or murder.
The problem with this new offering from writer Sarah Thomas is that it is neither comedic nor vaguely realistic or believable, leaving it floating in a kind of vacuous hinterland and us to marvel only in the fact that we're watching it in the first place.
The plot involves a pair of sibling thieves, Sam and Sophie, who have been separated for two years.
Out of the blue, Sophie returns to the place which the pair call home - left to them by their uncle who was also a career criminal and seems to have taught them their trade.
Now this duo aren't your typical opportunist thieves, simply after a quid or two or mobile phone from some unsuspecting passer-by.
No, they're into robbing big houses where large quantities of ready money and valuables are (seemingly) stashed.
Sophie has got herself into deep water with the criminal fraternity in foreign shores, and has to find a huge wad of cash to appease them, and persuades her brother to join her in a few 'jobs' to acquire the necessary readies.
Sam's girlfriend, Clara, is a solicitor, who turns out to be about as naive as a cloistered nun, which seems more than a tad on the odd side for a woman in the legal profession.
Moreover, her father gets drawn in to Sophie's additional scams involving jewellery and wine, and turns unexpectedly nasty when Sophie's 'suppliers' can't deliver.
There's endless reference to fixers, contacts, networks, suppliers and the like which lends a wholly manufactured feel to the proceedings - even if the criminal fraternity actually use these terms.
Worse still, a mass of backstory unnecessarily clutters the plot, and to round things off there's a lethal dollop of sentimentality.
I was beginning to despair by the start of the second half, but then an interesting and unexpected turn of events ensued where the sibling gang met their match.
The opportunities that presented though were, sadly, largely ignored.
There is some dramatic interest to be found in the relationship between brother and sister here, which actually turns out not to be anything like as straight-forward as common or garden sibling love.
But that intriguing element in the storyline was largely overshadowed by the implausibility of the overall concept.
Overly long and laboured, Sublime feels entirely synthetic and contrived, lacking anything remotely akin to authentic realism, or a focused comedic angle which might have edged it closer to the quality embodied in its title.
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ActDrop listing for Tristan Bates Theatre
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