by Bryony Rae Taylor
21-year-old Catriona is very good at lying. She knows she isn’t supposed to, but she just can’t help herself when a ‘not unhandsome’ American man comes into the pub where she works. Craving some exhilaration and a reprieve from her mother’s grilling about whether she is living an exciting life yet or not, Catriona takes American Man on a wild goose chase of tall tales around her small home town in Northern Ireland.
Lies upon lies accumulate, exponentially becoming bombastic stories of BLOOD and GORE and VIOLENCE. Rachel Rooney’s performance is appropriately frenetic: her (incredible) eyebrows threaten to escape her face as they seem to rise higher with every untruth. She bounds across the stage, making intense eye contact with the audience as she goes, reeling them into her world of deception.
The set is deceivingly simple: a white sheet forms the backdrop and there are just two chairs and a light shade to set the scene. It makes the stage seem imbricated in the fallacy: we could be anywhere, at any time. The only sure thing is that Catriona has us captive.
Eoin McAndrew’s script is borderline cruel in that Rooney is required to deliver the frenzied prose in only an hour. But it is watertight. Hysterical in tone, speed, and funniness, and Fay Lomas’ direction ensures the writing is done justice. The Girl Who Was Very Good at Lying is slick, moving, and an absolute gem of the Fringe.
The Girl Who Was Very Good at Lying runs through 28th August.
The Play’s the Thing UK is committed to covering fringe and progressive theatre in London and beyond. It is run entirely voluntarily and needs regular support to ensure its survival. For more information and to help The Play’s the Thing UK provide coverage of the theatre that needs reviews the most, visit its patreon.