Based on playwright Florian Zeller’s The Truth (English translation by Christopher Hampton) that premiered at London’s The Chocolate Factory, the play – staged by SRT – has a simple plot revolving around two pairs of adulterous couples. But what makes it superbly entertaining is the dialog and the devious cat-and-mouse chase of the truth. And you don’t have to be married to understand the hilarity of it all.
The play revolves around Michael (Lim Yu-Beng) who’s having an affair with Alice (Cynthia Lee MacQuarrie), who is the wife of his best friend Paul (Vivek Gomber), and Michael’s wife Lauren (Neo Swee Lin) seems to suspect something is up. As events unfold, the lies that they tell their spouses begin to unravel – and Michael fumbles to find ways to lie through his teeth, to hilarious effect.
The audience was roaring with laughter from the first scene – a classic adultery setting of Michael and Alice in bed, discussing about their next romp. Michael seems to think he’s very good at keeping secrets, and when Alice asks if he feels guilty, he says he believes that lying about the affair is the best way to show that he loves his wife.
As the play progresses, it’s clear that Michael isn’t the only one who’s deft at lying to everyone. Suddenly, it is he who is lost in a sea of who-told-what, as he tries to check his big ego in balance. There are lots of gasp-worthy surprise reveals throughout. Hilarity ensues when the liar becomes angry about – surprise – the truth.
The play brings forth an interesting argument about adultery: is it better to lie or to tell the truth? To quote Voltaire – “Lying is only a vice when it harms; when it does good, it is a very great virtue”. But the play is more than just finding answers; it’s about finding your favourite quotable quote (of which there are plenty), like: “You’re not lying to him. You’re just not telling him the truth” or “I did everything I could to persuade her to go on lying to you. You have to believe me.”
The stellar cast made this hilarious play even more entertaining. The set design (by Petrina Dawn Tan) also warrants a praise – for such a small stage space, the set manages to switch from hotel room to gym locker, homes, and doctor’s office seamlessly. All of this was done from a single wall resembling a piece of modern art, with panels that pop out or swivel to cleverly reveal a bed, table, or bathroom.
All in all, The Truth is a devious play involving not just adulterous couples, but of the art of lying itself – one that leaves you laughing even after you’ve left the theatre.
The Truth is now playing at KC Arts Centre – Home of SRT until 20 April 2019. Showtime is at 8pm, with Saturday matinee at 4pm; tickets from $35 to $60. Check here for more.