While You Lie

4 Stars

****

Make no mistake; Sam Holcroft’s new play is a powerful and bold adult drama. There are numerous themes which she explores – obsession, lying, insecurity and sexual exploitation. The central character is Anna (Claire Lams) and it is the consequences of her decisions that drive the action forward.

The first two scenes define her background and personality. She originates from Eastern Europe. She is in her early 20’s, intelligent, scheming, attractive but insecure about her appearance and unable to fully give and receive love from her boyfriend Edward (Andrew Scott-Ramsay). At first, her insecurities can be amusing. However, when she offers sexual favours to her boss Chris (Steven McNicoll), married and in his forties,  in return for career advancement, the mood becomes darker as she triggers a whole of series of incidents affecting not only the two men bit also Chris’s wife, the heavily pregnant Helen (Pauline Knowles). Into the mix, Ike (Leo Wringer) appears. He is a smooth talking opportunistic plastic surgeon whose answer to female insecurity is cosmetic surgery.

In the sexual relationship between Chris and Anna, there are undoubtedly uncomfortable scenes where Chris changes from the bland to the violent. Having been seduced by Anna, he takes his pleasure by degrading her as a form of revenge.

The play builds to a dramatic conclusion, somewhat unexpected given everything that has gone before. The direction given by Zinnie Harris is imaginative and the whole cast are excellent. This is a play which I reckon will induce thoughts about the human persona long after witnessing the performance.

Reviewed by Ben

Venue; Venue Number – Traverse Theatre; V15

Dates – 5 to 29 August 2010 (not 9,23)

Times – Vary daily

Fringe Programme Page Number: 304

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