Review: White Liars and Black Comedy, Lantern Theatre

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The Peter Shaffer Mini-Season kicks off in grand style with two terrific and disparate one-act plays.

In the first segment, Jasmine Warwick is magnificent as Sophie, a Germanic, Romany fortune-teller of dubious noble origin. She provides a psychiatrist’s couch for Tom (Rob Lowe) and Frank (Mark Kenney) who love the same woman. Her bold, rhetoric-heavy, spirit-fuelled, soliloquies in front of a photo of her father, complete with authentic-sounding Austrian accent are thoroughly believable and a realistic-looking set compliements the performance. People tell untruths to others, but the worst white lies are the ones they tell themselves.

Those who want to enjoy the delightful surprise of the second segment should stop reading now. For a moment the audience thinks the lighting technician is having a snooze as nearly five minutes of dialogue takes place in pitch black. The penny drops as the lights fuse and the characters are lit up with “darkness” in this ingenious physical comedy.

All possible farcical avenues are exploited as all manner of shenanigans take place in the dark before a veritable litter of cats are let out of the proverbial bag.

Rob Myles is in fine exasperated form as Brinsley who almost succeeds in surreptitious furniture exchange, conducting affairs with two women and exhibiting his modern art to a millionaire. Kate Spivey is great as his mismatched debutante fiancée, Carol, who enjoys Winnie Whisky and a spot of sexypoo. Lara Bundock is better suited, but mischievious ex Clea.

The season continues next week.

Stephen Grigg