By Emer O’Toole
Tron Theatre Company, Tron Theatre, 11-17 June
Christmas has come early to the Tron Theatre this year with The Lying Kind, a comedy that explores the dilemma of lying to be kind.
The play begins with a scene reminiscent of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot: two male characters have a conversation on stage while they wait for something to happen. However, that is where the similarities end — Andy Arnold’s production is a farce in every sense of the word.
The show starts on Christmas Eve where trainee policemen Blunt and Gobbel have been given one last task for the night: to tell elderly couple Garson and Balthasar their only daughter has died in a car crash. When the couple get the wrong end of the stick and think their dog is dead instead, the play descends into mayhem.
Before they ring the doorbell to tell the couple the unseasonal news, they encounter a Gronya from PAPS (Parents Against Pedo Scum), a group that exits to punish pedophiles and anyone they think may be assisting them — even if they have no evidence. Through a series of multiple misunderstandings, Gronya (Gayle Stevens) believes they are helping pedophiles. This isn’t helped when the vicar (Gavin Jon Wright) is caught with his trousers down.
The plot is predictable at points and the production is ridiculous from beginning to end. However, that doesn’t detract from the fact the play balances a fine line between over the top humour without descending into pantomime melodrama. It’s not for everyone though: anyone with a slightly more sophisticated sense of humour might find the relentlessness of the play tiresome.
First played at the Royal Court Theatre in 2002, Arnold’s update of Anthony Neilson’s production relies on the policemen’s complete obliviousness to their own incompetence. Irish actor Michael Dylan (Gobbel) and his Scottish counterpart Martin McCormick (Blunt) are a delight as these lovable idiots. Peter Kelly and Anne Lacey are comical as the confused bereaved parents and Gayle Stevens is humorous but scary as the leader of PAPS.
Similar to Mark Bell’s The Play That Goes Wrong, everything that can go wrong, it seems, does go wrong for the characters in The Lying Kind. The more it does, of course, the funnier it becomes — resulting in an infectiously silly production.