Last night I went to see the Opening Night of Liverpool Network Theatre Group’s White Liars / Black Comedy Peter Shaffer double bill. If opening night is the final dress rehearsal, then the people seeing the show today will be very happy!
First there is the tragic comedy White Liars. Baroness Lemberg is a depressed deflated fortune teller on the English South Coast longing to return to her days as a noble in Austria. Any business seems to have been lost to the death of the short British summer, when two young men come to seek her services, one eagerly, one not so much. Through simple conversations and complex divination the audience learns not to trust anything the characters have told us, and perhaps more obviously, never to trust a a Yorkshire man who has voluntarily moved darn sarf.
Then there is the energetic farce Black Comedy. Far less serious on the surface than White Liars you have to feel sorry for Brindsley as he tries to keep everyone, including his current fiancee and ex girlfriend, happy and save his own skin while he’s at it. The play is set during a black out, and while the audience can see the stage, the actors were very convincingly wandering around in the dark. This leads to a wealth of physical comedy and whispered conversations being said to the wrong person in a very bad way. Behind the laughter, there is also a serious commentary on class and social values.
Both plays were brilliantly acted and directed and everyone involved has clearly worked very hard to pull this off.
One word of warning, the venue, the Gregson Institute, while extraordinarily beautiful, is cold. Very cold. If you ever receive advice to take a blanket with you to see a play, you should definitely take the blanket.
Copyright, D M Day, 2017