Here We Lie | Theatre Review
The Lyric – Naughton Theatre • Runs until 02 July
By Conor O’Neill
An affair, one little lie that turns into the ruination/resurrection of a small town, sweet toothed lovers on their way to type 2 diabetes, the Pride of Northern Ireland Awards, cocktail sausages with peri peri sauce, fund raisers, Little Clouds nursery singing their little hearts out and Geraldine on keys … question is, ‘what would you do to keep your man?’.
Thankfully, all will become clear if you get to The Lyric’s Naughton Theatre before 02 July and witness what can only be described as arguably the most original piece of theatre to debut this year. Patrick J. O’Reilly along with Rawlife Theatre Company and in association with The Lyric, have a little piece of satire gold on their hands here.
O’Reilly’s credentials are impeccable. Winner of the 2010 Stewart Parker Radio Drama award and writer/actor/director of more than a dozen shows, he and co. deliver a sparkling and shuddering night of ghouls, a tapestry of contorted shopping trolleys, a cast that never puts a foot wrong and the story of a small town echoing the mood of these unstable times. This play, according to the press preview, is about Trump, Brexit, Ulster politics and the configuration of lies that has us all second guessing is this the real life, or is this just fantasy?
For a tale of its time, it’s hard to see how this play will age. Of all the topics above, none are ever mentioned by name; it would seem crude to. Here We Lie has a universal, ethereal feel that not only has knowing little laughs, but a disarming innocence about it making it stand out from the rest.
Niall Rea’s set is reminiscent of a Tim Burton movie scene – unnerving with that car-crash-can’t-take-your-eyes-away self-revolting attraction. Trolleys dismantled and reassembled double up as sofas furnished by bags-for-life cushions, hospital beds, dinner tables where bankruptcy, divorce and murder all get discussed. Shopping baskets hanging from the ceiling connected by wire add to the cluttered, industrial feel. Claustrophobic? Definitely. Perfect for the plot? Undoubtedly
Loughsea’s shoppers and gossips like nothing more than noting what’s on whose washing lines, who is currently up the duff, breast implants and lop-sided lampposts. Imagine the aching chins when Sharon (Rosie McClelland) tells a lie in the heat of the moment to wayward hubby Brian (Antionette Morelli) who then blabs it down the pub and soon the nation’s media drops onto the village like an atomic bomb. Thankfully, Sharon’s best friend Michelle (Louise Mathews) is at hand to get her through the ‘illness’. With hubby Declan (Claire Conor) quaking with nerves as panic attacks arrive like rush-hour buses, Michelle is more than happy to help out and help herself.
And the root of all this mayhem? Well, it could only be the hussy from Lurgan that is Paula (Bernadette Brown). Everyone involved has something to hide. Sharon has, at last count, 250,000 and 31 reasons to lie. A recording of that fateful ‘I’m leaving’ chat replays and replays upping the tension as the plot thickens and debris mounts. Istanbul via Stansted or a few pints of poison seem the only way out, depending on your skewered point of view.
The plot is connected by lines so sharp they cut themselves. “My snatters are like static mice!” “Stalactites, you mean.” and “Deaths are topping christenings round here, soon there’ll be no-one left” are only bettered by Paula’s plea of, “Jesus Christ, enough of the drama!”.
Drama is here in abundance. An hour and a half of theatre shouldn’t give so much yet leave you feeling so drained both at the same time. Hats off, no standing ovation, legs are probably too wobbly for that, but a smashing tale well told. For booking detail phone the box office on 02890 381081 or visit www.lyrictheatre.co.uk
Here we Lie runs until 02 July.