The Lying Kind (2 stars)

The Lying Kind

Confused and confusing

The Lying Kind, directed by Andy Arnold, is a play which doesn't know what it's trying to do. Torn between a straight farce about two police officers trying to inform an elderly couple their daughter is dead, while offering loftier messages about honesty and moral panic, it doesn't succeed in either role.

The comedic talents of Michael Dylan (Gobbel) and Martin McCormick (Blunt) are undeniable. Dylan's portrayal of an idiotic yet well intentioned constable works alongside McCormick's austere, but equally foolish, character with impressive chemistry.

In the hands of less skilled actors the fact that these roles form a hackneyed double act would be painfully exposed. For a play which the director describes as a 'complex comedy' the lack of originality is an almost unforgivable sin.

The Lying Kind strains to prove to the audience that it is complex, that it's more than just a farce. Every attempt fails.

What begins as a sub-plot revolving around a group of anti-paedophile vigilantes culminates in the ring leader's daughter confessing she has been abused by her uncle. Refusing to believe that her own brother could be one of the monsters she so despises the vigilante beats her daughter for telling lies. Barely a second goes by before we return to the high-jinks that proceeded this jarring interaction. It's a moment that's as baffling as it is horrifying.

Other sensitive subjects are met with a similar lack of nuance. Like child abuse, the apparent dementia of the elderly mother (Anne Lacey) and the suggested transvestism of a minister (Gavin Jon Wright) are trotted out for simplistic shocks.

There are unquestionably laughs in The Lying Kind but they are suffocated by a pervasive sense of discomfort and confusion. The cast perform admirably but even their obvious instincts for a good gag aren't enough to rescue a deeply flawed script.

Tron, Glasgow, 6–22 Jul.

The Lying Kind

Anthony Neilson's farce about two policemen with a painful duty to perform.

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