The Truth is the latest transfer from hot playwright Florian Zeller to land in the West End. Fresh from a glowing run at the Menier Chocolate Factory, Lindsey Posner directs this ninety-minute firecracker on the larger stage at the Wyndham’s Theatre.
It bears a heavy title but what Zeller offers is a hilariously funny, punchy drama, as an affair between two married people spectacularly unfolds in front of your eyes. It’s a car crash-Jeremy Kyle moment that is hugely entertaining to watch. Michel (Alexander Hanson) deals with the deceit fairly nonchalantly, but even though he stands to lose both his wife and best friend, if they don’t know about the affair then he’s not hurting anybody. Alice (Frances O’Connor) however, is starting to feel the first pangs of guilt and thinks they should come clean.
The notion of ‘truth’ is laid out on the table for the audience to question and dissect. When is a lie ok? To protect someone? Little white lies? Truth is a fluid concept and largely boils down to the issue of trust. But as we sit judging the characters upon stage and their lies to each other, they’re also playing with the audience and throwing our own trust into the air.
It’s a seamless production that Posner keeps tight and fuss-free with a minimalistic set, heightening the tension as we cling to our seats, accelerating to the finale. It’s hugely thought-provoking and keeps you guessing right to the end with many twists and turns along the way.
I hope we don’t have to wait too long for Zeller’s second part ‘The Lie’ which explores another point of view of the couples, in true Zeller-style. As Michel stands in the closing scene, for once without words and nervously sweating, the infamous line from A Few Good Men echoed round my head ‘You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth.’
An absolute must-see.
(Photo courtesy of Tristram Kenton)