Though I have had it for as long as I can remember, I have no idea if it has a name. The intense discomfort from experiencing something seasonal at another time of year, typically manifesting itself in a rage when I see Easter eggs in supermarkets in the first week of February, or even having to switch the radio station when a song where the title features ‘Monday’ comes on any day other than Monday. So the prospect of seeing a play set in that most seasonal of seasons, Christmas, smack bang in the middle of July filled me with, well, a tang of nausea. However, the Tron Theatre’s production of Anthony Neilson’s The Lying Kind is an irreverent spin on goodwill to all humankind, and a sufficiently bizarre meditation on the consequences of not being upfront in the first place to override my discomfort.
Following hapless policemen Blunt and Gobbel as they brace themselves to deliver awful news to elderly parents on Christmas Eve, The Lying Kind explores the increasingly ridiculous effects of not being honest in order to save someone’s skin. But it is that of the other person or your own? The cast are a phenomenally good ensemble, plausibly layering each twist and turn to build up to a monumental farce, with special mention going to Michael Dylan for his sheer comic range. A sequence where he empties a cupboard gets not only the biggest laugh of the night but a round of applause, and deservedly so. There are only two locations in the entire play – outside and inside – but the cosy living room set, complete with three doors and a window, provide all the vantage points necessary for hijinks to ensue.
However, despite the best efforts of the cast and the entire production, it is nevertheless an odd choice for the summer programme. There’s the sense that there is a light-hearted and endearingly absurd decision-making process behind this but I couldn’t shake how much bolder it would be to programme The Lying Kind, complete with its distinctly adult themes, at Christmas instead as a distinctly offbeat alternative to pantomime.
Photos courtesy of John Johnston.
The Lying Kind runs at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow until 22nd July.