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Dear Liar (tour - Guildford, Mill Studio)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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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.


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