Theatre review: Clever bedroom comedy in The Truth

Michael (Lim Yu-Beng) is convinced that he is a fabulous tennis player, and that his affair with his best friend's wife (Cynthia Lee MacQuarrie) must be kept secret out of consideration for the feelings of their respective spouses.
Michael (Lim Yu-Beng) is convinced that he is a fabulous tennis player, and that his affair with his best friend's wife (Cynthia Lee MacQuarrie) must be kept secret out of consideration for the feelings of their respective spouses.PHOTO: SINGAPORE REPERTORY THEATRE

The Truth

Singapore Repertory Theatre

KC Arts Centre - Home of SRT/ April 10


What makes The Truth such fun to watch is that the protagonist is terrible at lying to others.

Michael (Lim Yu-Beng) can convince himself of anything. He is convinced that he is a fabulous tennis player, and that his affair with his best friend's wife must be kept secret out of consideration for the feelings of their respective spouses. (He is also convinced that the ethics of adultery need not be debated.)

However, he fails to convince others with his lies, whether it is his wife (Neo Swee Lin) wondering about his whereabouts or his lover (Cynthia Lee MacQuarrie) of why they should continue keeping their affair under wraps. When even best friend Paul (Vivek Gomber) outmatches Michael in battles of wits and sports, it becomes ever more interesting to watch the protagonist squirm and sweat and try desperately to squirrel his way out of tight spots.

The Truth continues the Singapore Repertory Theatre's tradition of presenting scripts that have been a hit overseas. French playwright Florian Zeller's narrative (translated into English by Christopher Hampton) unravels a new layer of deception in each scene, so the audience is constantly rethinking who has the upper hand. Staged here under the helm of London-based Singaporean director Ng Choon Ping, the script and strong performances by all four actors keep audiences laughing and focused even though a key link in the love quadrangle is decidedly weak.

Lim and Lee MacQuarrie play better antagonists than lovers Michael and Alice and far more chemistry sparks when Michael and his best friend Paul share a drink than in the illicit hotel room trysts. The real star however is Neo, who pulls the show together as Michael's wife. Her bland expression hides more secrets than the set design by Petrina Dawn Tan. A white wall folds out into beds, sofas and shelves, which pop in and out in different configurations to create different settings. It is a neat way to seamlessly change scenes and also echoes the deepening complexity of the subtext behind the spoken lines.


BOOK IT / THE TRUTH

WHERE: KC Arts Centre - Home of SRT, 20 Merbau Road

WHEN: Until April 20, 8pm, Mondays to Fridays, 4 and 8pm on Saturdays

ADMISSION: $45 to $60 from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to sistic.com.sg)

INFO: The 8pm show tomorrow will have sign-language interpretation for the hearing-impaired. The 8pm shows on April 19 and 20 are audio-described for the visually- impaired. For more information, go to www.srt.com.sg/show/thetruth.