Theatre review: The Truth-Teller at the King’s Head

20:17 19 April 2012

Tom Radford as Jonathan and Martha Barnett as Mary in The Truth-Teller at The King

Tom Radford as Jonathan and Martha Barnett as Mary in The Truth-Teller at The King's Head Theatre

Archant

Comedy with a few echoes of Jim Carrey flick Liar Liar has plenty of spark

The story of a lying sod who suddenly finds himself unable to tell a single fib is one that will be familiar to anyone who saw 1990s Jim Carrey vehicle Liar Liar.

The Truth-Teller takes the same basic premise and runs with it. The label “compulsive liar” really doesn’t do justice to the central character, Jonathan, and the scale of his problem. This is a man who can’t even order a cab without sending it to the wrong address, and who swears blind - to his long-suffering fiance Mary - that he was brought up by dingoes.

It’s a setup with ample comic potential and David Crook’s script makes a good fist of drawing it out, often in quite unexpected ways, while most of the cast, particularly Tom Radford in the lead, are spot on.

Jonathan’s problem is turned on its head when he visits a psychiatrist figure who somehow cures him with the help of Immanuel Kant’s maxim that lying is never justified. His truth-telling gets him in more hot water, but also creates some of the biggest laughs, as when Mary receives a frank assessment of her sexual prowess. “I want you to tell me a small quantity of little lies,” she concludes.

It’s occasionally predictable and the philosophical stuff drags a little, but all-in-all this is a genuinely funny piece with plenty of spark. Honestly.

* The Truth-Teller is at the King’s Head Theatre in Upper Street, N1, until May 6. Visit www.kingsheadtheatre.com or call 020 7478 0160 for the box office.

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