“The Liar”: Sassy and Solid

Photo by David Brooks Andrews

Presented by Wellesley Repertory Theatre 
Directed by Marta Rainer
Written by David Ives

Jan 11 through Feb 4, 2018
Wellesley Repertory Theatre
106 Central St, Wellesley, MA
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Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

An earlier posting of this review included typos. We sincerely apologize for such mistakes to the cast, crew, and audience of The Liar.

(Wellesley, Massachusetts)  On a rainy night I drove to Wellesley, my Kia Soul surrounded by rolling mists of grey fog, and my patriotic heart weighed down by the repeated disappointment that is Donald, embarrassed and saddened by the virulent racism he displayed again —this time publicly referring to other nations as “shithole” countries.  At the theatre, I settled into my seat with a sigh and a slight frown. And I probably crossed my arms at some point, which I’m prone to do when silently seething.  I was sad and huffy and not in a state to kindly review anything.  

The lights when out, so I bent down to take my notebook from my bag, and when I looked up my immediate response was a whispered “Oh my gawd!”  Because the stage’s modestly modern décor was designed perfectly.  The minimalist style of the scenery had a bright white color scheme, against which were set brilliant pinks, neon greens, and spots of flamboyant orange accents.  It was an aesthetic pick-me-up for my eyes, which quickly seeped into my thirsty spirit. Three things instantaneously happened: [1] I forgot about Donald.  [2]  My belief in the importance and effect of spatial concepts was reconfirmed.  [3]  I was finally ready to review the the comedy about to unfold in front of me.

The Liar is a frolicsome story.  I imagine if someone enjoys the television series “Glee,” then they would also enjoy this play.  There are dance routines by the ensemble cast.  There is romantic intrigue, and ultimately The Liar falls in the genre of teen drama, with focus on young adult characters who enjoy the melodrama of manic emotional relationships.  In a flurry, actors on stage laughed and cried, with girls slapping guys for impropriety, but guys still continuing with their rude and ill-mannered ways.

I gazed into this slapstick funny fluff, searching for something substantial, and I spotted it in the actress Angela Bilkic who played the character Lucrece.  Bilkic is an award-winning actress who is based in New York City, and she owned her character Lucrece!  When Bilkic delivered her monologues, you stayed with every nuance, as Bilkic expressed really mature feeling while keeping the scene funny.  

Another shining star in this cast was actor Paul Michael Valley, who has been on television and the stage for twenty-five years.  As the character Alcippe, Valley brought out the best in actors he shared scenes with.  Valley was the most skilled actor in the cast and has mastered acting.  When parts of The Liar could have devolved into quibbles about love letters and boring boasting about sexual exploits, Paul Michael Valley would literally roar onto stage with such unbeatable bravado that the younger men acting with him were repeatedly forced to more fully inhabit and present their characters.  Valley’s credits include “Guiding Light,” which I watched throughout 1990s, and “Law and Order: SVU.”  

If you have a high schooler who is studying the classic love trysts, anything by Emily Brontë or Shakespeare, or a teenager who enjoys “Glee,” then purchase some tickets and make The Liar a fun night out at the theater.  It is on stage for the rest of January.

 

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