The Lie: a piercing insight into the truths of infidelity

The Lie: a piercing insight into the truths of infidelity

'And have we not we affections? Desires for sport... as men have? Then let them use us well: else let them know, the ills we do, their ills instruct us so' Act IV, Scene III, Othello

Following the success of The Truth, written by Lie Florian Zeller, directed by Lindsay Posner and translated by Christopher Hampton from the French original, Zeller uses the same characters to keep consistency throughout the two plays. The Lie, performed at the Menier Chocolate Factory, revolves around four characters which include husband and wife Alice (Samantha Bond) and Paul (Alexander Hanson). Alice sees her friend's husband Michel (Tony Gardner) with another woman. She is torn on whether to tell her friend Laurence (Alexandra Gilbreath) or lie to her. She has to ask herself: when do you tell the truth? What are the consequences of finding out the truth? Whether that will require more lying or not?

This results in multiple story lines all based around one lie. I think Zeller is able to portray a good decryption of the average middle class older relationships. However, although Zeller is an undeniably great writer, with this piece I feel like something might have got lost in translation. A lot of the time Paul and Alice were having conversations that just didn’t feel natural. It felt like a lot of the time they were definitely acting and weren’t just having verbal contests that married people naturally have. Although this will have been a lot to do with Christopher Hampton’s translation, there is an element of the acting that affects it also. Most people, I think, silently expect that if someone is older and has established themselves in a career, they must be extremely talented in their chosen field. The play is a perfect example of how this is not true.

For a lot of the time I was exhausted by watching Samantha Bond running around the stage; she is more commonly known for her TV roles on series such as Downton Abby and Outnumbered. The roles she played in these instances are where she acts as somewhat of a crazy person. She translates this style of acting to the play which made me focus upon her rather than the content of the play. That being said, all four actors are obviously very talented and very experienced, as well as being comfortable enough to work beautifully together. All in all it is a good show- perhaps the weakest of the four of Zeller’s play- but an interesting way of looking at the way a third party must deal with infidelity, and the thoughts and feelings behind lying out of love for someone.


Three stars


Cora Hilliard, incoming drama student