Writer: Katie Bonna
Dramaturg: Sarah Dickenson
Director: Joe Murphy
Reviewer: Lauren Humphreys
If lying was a paying job, then Katie Bonna and her family would be billionaires. At the heart of All The Things I Lied About, is the monumental web of lies that tore Bonna’s own family apart.
In this post-truth, fake news world, and working from the principle that lying is as basic as breathing, Bonna frames her work as a TED talk (on the familiar red dot carpet) and begins as a discussion on the science of lying, aiming to answer the question: Why do people lie?
Few stones are left unturned as Bonna divulges her own proclivity to lie and the quite frankly astonishing deceit, and use of ‘gaslighting’ (a term from the 1938 Patrick Hamilton play and subsequent 1944 George Cukor movie, a practise where a person is psychologically manipulated into doubting their sanity) by her own father on her mother.
While the real TED talks are limited to 18 minutes, Bonna’s work runs at an hour, and the device does wear thin. The ‘raw emotion’ she also displays isn’t convincing in a show that Bonna has performed so many times (a run at the Edinburgh Fringe, and a UK tour) and at her own admission, Bonna is a seasoned liar, when you profess to lie as much as Bonna says she has, then you can’t really expect people to trust what you say.
There’s an uncomfortable silence in the half-lit auditorium that despite Bonna’s best efforts (lots of eye contact, positive affirmations at any effort during audience participation), remains throughout, and her attempt to turn us into “warriors of truth” fizzles out like a damp squib.
A deeply personal and revealing evening at the theatre, but instead of leaving you examining the impact that everyday lies have on ourselves and those around us, it leaves you cold.
Runs until 23 September 2017 | Image: Contributed