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Tell Me... Lies

Carole-Anne Le Foll
Arts Theatre
(2008)

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Tell Me... Lies is a short piece based on true life research that tries to give the audience an understanding of schizophrenia.

It's the day of her mother's funeral and Abi (Sally Day) is not feeling very well. Her sister, Emma (Eleanor Samson), however, has no time for excuses and is more concerned with the practical realities of the event - such as organizing the tea, reading the condolence messages and wondering "what happened to mum's necklace?"

The only person who seems to care is Fleur (Carole Weyers) who arrives all in pink brandishing an imaginary gun and Matt (Sean Carrigan), the new neighbour who explains; "I think it's easy to talk to a stranger, a stranger would understand."

Time passes, in small talk with most of the action taking place in the back garden of the family home - a claustrophobic space . In fact there is very little action - it's more domestic day to day existence, with Abi not doing very much.

Emma is a professional working woman who has a black boyfriend, Derek (Jonathan Taylor), who sadly is a drawn as a stereotype - he doesn't work, can dance really well and ends up succumbing to Abi's charms. Later, he is suspected of stealing money from an elderly neighbour but this is only a small part of a sub-plot that doesn't really go very far.

Emma, it appears, never notices Fleur and Matt, so it's clear that they are not real - Abi has occasionally headaches where she collapses on the floor with noises that she hears in her head.

Before, we know it, a year has gone by, and Abi wants to leave home and resume her education. She's been working in a dead end job in a shop, which she gives up after walking away with £20 for shopping.

It's never very clear in the story, whether, Emma is aware of her sister's illness or not - she doesn't think that Abi is ready to leave home, but on the other hand, she doesn't do anything to address what's happening to her. In fact, there's quite a bit of sibling rivalry.

It all comes to a head when Abi and her friends decide to travel - Fleur who has a nice line in French patter suggests France, and, not surprisingly, Abi has a cache of money to pay for the tickets. Oh, the necklace turns up as well! It appears that Abi is quite a magpie.

I particularly enjoyed Day and Weyer's performances along with the silent choreographed movement sequences in the show, but I am not sure I felt any sympathy for Abi which is a real pity.

Until 17 May @ 9.30pm; (No performances on May 11 & 12), then Brighton Fringe Festival 21 -22 May @ 6pm Underbelly & Edinburgh Fringe Festival 31 July - 24 August @1.40pm - Underbelly, Cowgate

Reviewer: Suman Bhuchar