Laugh Out Loud Funny: THE TRUTH at Wyndham's Theatre

Sometimes, shows take more of my fancy after a bit of a rebranding and a transfer into the West End: this was the case for French playwright Florian Zellar’s latest play The Truth. When it started its life at the Menier Chocolate Factory, there was nothing about it that attracted me whatsoever, despite the good reviews it received; I even turned down a press night invite because I was barely interested.

But there was something much more exciting about the West End branding for the show and the kind of exposure that it got when it transferred that made me want to go desperately and ultimately, it was even more enjoyable than I thought it would be.

The story centres around a woman named Alice and her husband’s best friend Michel continuing their six-month long affair in a hotel room. The two of them discuss the risks of their relationship but how they know that it’s right for them, including many funny anecdotes about the affair that they’ve had so far. We then meet Michel’s wife Laurence who seems suspicious of where Michel has been when his alibi doesn’t match up, and the same kind of intrigue when Alice’s husband Paul meets up with Michel for tennis. The rest of the play looks at how important it is to tell the truth with a hilarious whodunit-style love triangle ending. Presented only in one 90-minute act, it was non-stop laughs from beginning to end; the scenes changed quickly enough and the gags came fast enough for it to be constantly enjoyable.

Robert Portal and Alexander Hanson star as Paul and Michel in The Truth by Florian Zeller

You can tell that this show would actually be even more enjoyable and intimate in the Menier Chocolate Factory than it is in Wyndham’s: the set’s pretty visually basic – which isn’t a problem because it’s in no way necessary to the story – but it was innovative and compact as well. Lizzy Clachan has done a fantastic job in crafting a set that manages to be both subtle and practical. 

The cast are also sublime and they do feel like a group of four good friends up on that stage, despite the fact that they never interact as an entire group of four. Alexander Hanson as Michel is irritating to watch in part, but that’s only the character’s traits. His naiveté and self-indulgence was hilarious and Hanson did a fantastic job. Tanya Franks who plays his wife Laurence was also a favourite of mine with quick wit and intelligence that was always funny; Frances O'Connor and Robert Portal were also brilliant additions to the cast.

Laurence (Tanya Franks) and Michel (Alexander Hanson) embrace in The Truth

The Truth is a play that manages to be BBC1 comedy show level funny for the generation of The One Show watchers. It is witty, smart and endearing throughout and is a perfect solution to a night of good laughs at the theatre.

No comments