All The Things I Lied About gets personal
- Lorna Irvine
- 28 September 2017
Katie Bonna's confessional show on lying is hit and miss
Katie Bonna's neo-TED talk style intro sets the scene, using 'bespoke Russian dolls with my confused face on 'em' as a metaphor for layers, as she promises to scrutinise everyday lies, from the small and seemingly insignificant, to Trump's media manipulation, through to the traumatic deception from her father, who lied to her mother and the family about his affair. 'Gaslighting', or insidiously persuading others they are going insane while deceiving them, is the central thrust of her talk.
It's not so much theatre as a hybrid of the confessional and lecture, both immersive and amusing, descending into near-anarchy, when she asks the audience to participate (with props) in exacting revenge on her father, 'part Jeremy Clarkson, part Alan Partridge': cathartic for her, undoubtedly, but the only time the show has real energy.
She's not exactly doing anything unique here – Bryony Kimmings, Scottee and Jack Rooke all do this kind of personal reflection thing, with more invention – but through charisma and intelligence, Bonna wins over the initially reticent and polite audience.
Ultimately, her willingness to speak openly about her own failings and foibles is disarmingly raw, as well as attacking theatre's devices of artifice, and is all the more affecting for it – no word of a lie.
Touring until 18 Oct.