‘Brilliant Lies’ is a drama / comedy written by Australian playwright, David Williamson, some 20 years ago and subsequently released as a film in August 1996. This wonderful production can be seen at the Garrick Theatre in Meadow Street, Guildford nightly at 8.00 pm until Saturday 15th February, with matinees on Sunday 2nd and 9th at 2.00 pm.
Despite the Garrick being one of the smallest theatres in WA, the clever design by George Boyd – who really can think laterally – has a government office on one side, and Katy’s apartment on the other of a rotating stage. There were pullout flats on each side of the stage that gave a most realistic company office and a street scene complete with bus stop. Finally there was an amazing patio scene (photo or another Tim Prosser piece of magic?) with the house doors etc in the background. The rotations and set changes (some 20 in total) were very quick and almost unobtrusive, thanks to SM Maureen Harvie and her assistants, John Lobb and Hilary Lewis.
The curtain rose to Rob Hyner’s piano version of ‘It ain’t necessarily so’ to show an office in the Anti-discrimination Commission. At her desk is the smart, but officious Mediator, Marion (Sarah House), who is listening to Susie (Samantha Morey) a young woman who asserts that she has had months of vile, lewd innuendos ending in sexual fondling by her chauvinistic employer, Gary (Jon Watts).
Back in her sister’s flat, we learn from her sister, Katy (Amanda Watson) – shock horror, a lesbian – that scheming Susie is a liar, and cannot be trusted with money. Then, from her ‘born again Christian’ brother, Paul (Rhett Clarke) we glean that her lifestyle is sluttish. The three siblings reluctantly decide to invite their father, Brian (Gino Cataldo) around for a birthday treat.
Gary, who is a happily married family man, is horrified by Susie’s assertions and so discusses the situation and consequences with his business partner, Vince (John Forde), to see what they can do to save the business and their reputation.
Will the Tribunal discover the truth?
Williamson’s brilliantly constructed plays rely on subtly, as the layers of story are peeled back like an onion. Director, Dale James captured the feel of the play perfectly, interpreted the richly written characters, before leading the talented and experienced cast through the emotions and intricacies of the story.
The lighting (designed by Don Allan) and sound were smoothly operated by Clayton Reichert.
The initial announcement now comes across clearly, however, I am sorry to come back to this point, but the air-con is still the worst in the business. Last night the cooling was full on – at 18C (?) – and the large ceiling fans set at full speed. This caused noise and draughts. The fans were switched off after the interval, but it was still too cold. Eavesdrop on the patrons whilst they are having their interval coffee, you will learn so much about their thoughts on the show and the venue. On a plus, the warmth of the welcome and service at the Garrick is supreme. Are they the only theatre to offer an apple juice as an alternative to the sherry – great idea? After that whinge, I must praise the production. The chemistry of the actors was first class, some powerful and emotional performances.
A highly recommended play, but book because last night was a sell out. With the new Great Eastern Highway, even Guildford isn’t far from the freeway.