The title of Florian Zeller’s latest work, following the companion pieces The Father and The Mother, is both entirely appropriate and wildly misleading.
Businessman Michel (Hanson) is entertaining his lover Alice, who just happens to be his best friend’s wife (O’Connor). When their opinions on the relationship begin to differ, their relationship begins to unravel along with Michel’s nerves and his sense of coherence.
Zeller constantly leaves us confused as who exactly is in the know about this affair, and the constant shifts in power mid-scene really challenge your own sense of truth and perception. However, where Zeller really excels is in the conversational content of his dialogue, where characters buy for time, avoid awkward questions and deflect accusations on to one another with brilliant realism and humor. The audience often found themselves laughing at the moments that you’d get slapped in real life for laughing at. Christopher Hampton has brilliantly captured both Zeller’s dramatic intention but also the awkward reality and complexity of a lie being uncovered
Alexander Hanson gives a tremendous performance throughout the 90 minute show, in which he never leaves the stage and commands your attention with ease as his character Michel nervously and hilariously navigates his way through a web of deceit, sex and betrayal.
In Michel’s drunken stand-offs with firstly his best friend (portrayed with Machiavellian wit by Robert Portal) and his wife (Tanya Franks), he works tirelessly to remove his foot from his own mouth, while trying to counteract the effects of an entire bottle of whisky, which finish not only with hilarious and at times brilliantly unbearable tension, but also leave you begging for the counterpart piece, The Lie, to be produced sooner rather than later in London.
The lack of any real resolution in this piece leaves a real sense of longing, and Lindsay Posner’s masterful direction gives the audience the joyful pain of knowing that the truth isn’t always as black and white as we hope it to be.
Review by Thomas Cove.
The Truth runs at the Menier Chocolate Factory, Southwark, until 7th May – tickets from £45 book here – http://www.theatreperform.entstix.com/tickets/the-truth