What is lying? Immoral? Selfish? Even altruistic? For Grace, the young teenager at the heart of EV Crowe’s new play Liar Liar, lying is a pastime. For Grace, lies are like the air that she exhales. She lies about where she’s been and what she’s done and cares little about the consequences.
When a little boy is murdered on a day when Grace bunks off school and disappears, it isn’t surprising that she’s the prime suspect, but there is one thing that will save her: the truth.
It is an easy way out for some, but not for Gracey, and not when the truth is her best friend’s most precious and personal secret. What should she do? Tell the truth and protect herself or lie and suffer the consequences, but remain loyal to her friend Javaad?
Presenting the world through a teenager’s eyes, with BBM messages projected on the wall and deafening gunfire from Call Of Duty echoing around the auditorium, Liar Liar looks at the younger generation’s dependence on technology and questions the potentially dangerous effects that violent video games can have on those who play them.
Staged on a raised square platform, reflecting the protagonist’s isolation from the world, the production presents Grace’s character as an embodiment of the way in which teenagers are treated in today’s society and makes the audience question whether or not, in certain circumstances, it is acceptable to lie.
Grace is a distant figure, but the heaps of vitality and panache that Danusia Samal channels into her performance as the troubled teenager makes her a likeable character. Together with Ritu Arya’s playful and witty performance as her more sensible sibling Coco, the play paints a realistic portrait of a relationship between two sisters, at once sparring and intimate.
Thomas Padden’s agitated and manipulating David completes the family unit as the girls’ alcoholic father, while Carl Patrick’s patronising Steve, a nosy neighbour with good intentions, observes the family only from an outsider’s perspective.
Blanche McIntyre’s direction draws tension and suspense out of the play’s murder mystery narrative, culminating in an ambiguous and thought-provoking conclusion. We know who did it. But will Grace ever let the truth come out?