What’s it all about?
Right, so let’s get this straight: businessman Michel, Paul’s best friend, is having an affair with Alice, who just so happens to be Paul’s wife. Michel’s wife, Laurence, seemingly knows nothing about it all, but Alice wants more from her relationship with Michel – and Michel doesn’t want to lose either of them.
No, it’s not last night’s episode of Coronation Street, but rather the premise of frantically fast-paced and tightly-coiled farce The Truth, transferred from the Menier Chocolate Factory to Wyndham’s Theatre as the latest in a string of West End successes by Florian Zeller, award-winning playwright of The Father and The Mother.
Taking a surrealist comedian’s eye to the funny side of mendacity and manipulation, Zeller hilariously sets up, and then puts into motion, a domino-like toppling of lies upon lies, exploring the morality of sheer honesty through a myriad of duologues and witty, charming twists.
Who’s in it?
It’s tempting to say that stage favourite Alexander Hanson’s performance as central character Michel steals the show, but this would not pay due credit to the superb performances of the supporting cast of Robert Portal, Frances O’Connor and Tanya Franks.
In a frenetic series of events for Michel, Hanson dances through flashpoint after flashpoint to raucous effect by pulling out innumerable bumbles, gaffes, Spoonerisms and slips of the tongue, playing them off with all the squirm of a seasoned referendum campaigner.
But with only Hanson and one other person on stage at any singular moment, it’s the comparative stillness, calmness and matter-of-fact delivery of his playing partners that lends a hysterically satirical logic to Michel’s madness, showing off the tremendous talent of the entire collective ensemble.
What should I look out for?
A masterclass in farcical script-writing. A masterly conceived thread of events, you can only take your hat off to Zeller for the seamless, sharp script that fuels the frantic affair which, combined with the zippy, zesty delivery of the cast, expertly demonstrates that the truth is more malleable than you might initially think.
An alcohol-fuelled meeting late in the play. To say any more might give the game away, but the climactic payoff of the wind-up of events is side-splittingly funny.
Who was in the opening night crowd?
Olivier Award-winning actress Imelda Staunton certainly knows a thing or two about what makes a good show, and we glimpsed her enjoying Zeller’s rollercoaster ride as much as the rest of us.
In a nutshell?
No word of a lie, The Truth is a funny, frenetic, fantastic farce.
What’s being said on Twitter?
The Truth at Wyndham’s is fantastic – Alexander Hanson magnificent – hilarious – go see
— Jack Hawkins (@MrJackHawkins) June 27, 2016
Just out of The Truth at the Wyndham. Brilliant, devious, little highbrow farce. Well worth a look.
— James Ball (@jamesrbuk) June 27, 2016
Will I like it?
The Truth is one of those rare shows where you simply have to sit back and admire the raft of talent on display. From Zeller’s script and Christopher Hampton’s adaptation to Lindsay Posner’s intuitive direction, and with a cast of four faultless performers, The Truth has all the verve and vigour of an immediate hit.
Yes, you’ll like it. In fact, you can take my word for it…