Based on the correspondence between
George Bernard Shaw and the actress Mrs Patrick Campbell, Dear
Liar is similar to finding a stray Werther's Original at
the bottom of your handbag; a completely delightful surprise. Fans of
Shaw’s work will no doubt find this production interesting but it
manages to transcend the usual dryness of memoir dramatizations and
whisks the audience away on a whirlwind historical romance that puts
modern rom-coms to shame.
Jerome Kilty’s script interweaves
the letters that Shaw and Campbell sent each other over 40 years to
provide snappy and fluid dialogue. He cleverly brings the letters
together so rather than simply reading plain text the two characters
actually seem to be speaking to each other, breathing life into this
dormant love. Never actually touching, the actors create a "Sliding
Doors" style of production, giving asides to the audience to
create personal and touching moments. With a minimal, yet homely set
as a backdrop this play lets the two actors spin yarns beautifully.
As Shaw Gary Raymond is as cheeky as
a naughty schoolboy. He douses his lines with a marinade of wit which
tickles the audience pink. Relaxed, yet authoritative, Raymond is
extremely likable and cuts a dashing figure making it easy to see why
Mrs Pat fell for him. Delena Kidd gives a spirited performance of
the grande dame actress, full of dignity and
self-possession that entices the audience. Between them the couple
manage to flirt and quarrel their way across the decades and into
each other’s hearts.
A beautifully theatrical production
filled with whimsy and tragic gentleness.