The Pretender (2 stars)

One man show about lying gets out of control

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This article is from 2011.

The Pretender

Lying: people often do it to get over life's hurdles. Whether in politics, relationships, or childhood, lies are part of everyday social tactics, but can often spiral out of control. In this play, we're complicit in one such fib. Our host, a nameless groom-to-be has requested our service as wedding guests. Afraid of losing the girl of his dreams, he has spun tale after tale of falsities about his life, to the point where we're needed to act as friends he claimed to have.

To have carried on this exploration of the uncontrollable vulnerability of pretending would have been thoughtful and compelling. But the production veers off track with an attempt to portray the dark truths of this man's past through an unnecessary combination of video projection, Windows Media player-style animation effects, stand-up comedy, various papier-maché costumes and sudden bursts of physical theatre with Antony & the Johnson's and Aphex Twin as soundtrack. Other than the remark 'I didn't have the happiest of childhoods', and some eerie footage of dolls, we gain no insight into the reasons for lying; he's right to say that by the end, we're really his jury, and the verdict is: not great.

Underbelly, Cowgate, until 28 Aug, 0844 545 8252, 13:45, £9.50-£10 (£8.50-£9)

This article is from 2011.

The Pretender

  • 2 stars

The night before his wedding a man wakes, wracked with guilt about the lies he’s told. ‘The Pretender’ is a dark tale of the destructive power of lies and the search for absolution. Stylishly innovative theatre combining spectacular video projection, physical theatre and mesmerisingly dark animation with narrative…

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