Alice (Samantha Bond) and her husband Paul (Alexander Hanson) are hosting a dinner party for Michel (Tony Gardner) and Laurence (Alexandra Gilbreath) but prior to the party Alice sees Michele kissing another woman. Should she tell Laurence? Paul thinks it is better, not to say anything, better to lie.
Like The Truth, to say more about the plot would spoil it but at the heart of the play is the moral dilemma whether it is better to lie and protect or tell the truth and potentially hurt. Of course being a Florian Zeller play (translated by Christopher Hampton) he cleverly turns the idea on its head exploring truth, lies and relationships with insight and sharp wit, director Lindsay Posner and the cast bringing the humour beautifully to the surface.
There is something quite genius in the way Alexander Hanson says 'hmmm', his intonation and timing speaks volumes. It is particularly admirable given that he is a late addition to the cast - James Dreyfus had to withdraw for medical reasons - and with only a week of rehearsals under his belt, he was still working off script during the preview I saw. He even managed to put meaning into the manner in which he turned the pages and if he is that good with so little rehearsal time, it bodes well.
The Lie is also notable for having what I can best describe as a 'credit sequence'. I haven't seen this done since the Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night-Time when there is a bit more play after the actors have taken their bow - sort of like the snippets of extras that show during the credits at the end of a film or TV show. It's such an unexpected phenomena at the theatre, for a moment I thought I'd imagined the cast coming on for the curtain call and that the audience had broken into applause too soon. It's a nice touch and rounds the play off superbly.
I said last year that I was late to the Florian Zeller party in seeing The Truth and seeing The Lie has just made me hungry to see more of his work. It's 90 minutes without an interval and is at the Menier Chocolate Factory until November 18. Snap up a ticket quick, they are selling fast.