The Truth, review of Zeller's comedy at the Wyndham's Theatre
Anyone wanting a little depth to their deception will be pleasantly rewarded.
After productions of Zeller's The Father and The Mother left me destroyed in my seat, numb with grief, I was certainly ready for a laugh. With the world apparently crumbling around us comedy is needed more than ever to provide a vital distraction and whilst it may not be a laugh a minute, The Truth takes its time to reveal it's hand with some rewarding results.
It's a solid comedy, albeit a slight one. What appears tightly woven begins to revel in its own unravelling, and as the pace picks up and the performances grow that extra bit sharper, the wordplay is left to shine. Zeller's ability to keep the audience guessing is once again on display, as our own search for the truth tallies with that of the central characters, and just when it seems in our grasp it shifts and our truths are shattered.
Plot wise, it's a drawn out version of the infamous Friends episode 'The One Where Everybody Finds Out' (“they don't know that we know that they know we know”), wherein philandering Michel is sleeping with his best friend's wife and struggles to see the hypocrisy in his own suspicion and accusations.
It's fiercely performed with great energy maintained primarily through Alexander Hanson's increasingly volatile and repugnant central figure who begins the play in prime position and ends it clutching at his wife hoping frantically for an ounce of verisimilitude. He manages to paint the character in such a negative light in the early scenes that the joke really does land on him, and you end up questioning where your sympathies should lie, if anywhere.
Lindsay Posner's production finds the rhythm of the individual scenes but doesn't quite make for a fully satisfying evening. At times the play pretends to be more than it is, and it takes a while for the tone to settle and the audiences to realise that the comedy is intended to be broad and surface level. At its heart the play is a middle-class middle-age exploration of infidelity and will resonate obviously more with some rather than others. I couldn't help but will it to be less conscious and less controlled – if you enjoy your farces with a bit more door slamming this isn't for you, but for anyone wanting a little depth to their deception will be pleasantly rewarded.
What the Press Said...
"The Truth moves with the fluency of a dance that keeps turning on its own heel. It is an entertaining, unsettling, must-see show – there are depths to its shallowness."
Kate Kellaway for The Guardian
External links to full reviews from popular press