Review: Liars at a Funeral (Truth’n’Lies Theatre)

Top of the line comedy in Truth’n’Lies Theatre’s Liars at a Funeral, on stage in Toronto

Sibling rivalry, decades old secrets, and even older grudges come to a head at a fake funeral in Truth’n’Lies Theatre’s original play Liars at a Funeral. This new piece is on stage until May 14 at St. Vladimir Theatre.

This is one of the funniest shows I’ve seen in awhile. Take any scene from Liars at a Funeral, and you’ll find that it’s excellently done. Taken as a whole I did find some flaws, but the acting is always on-point, the production value is all there, and the writing is genuinely funny. While the conceit and story-arc leave something to be desired, the script has some of the best original comedy-writing I’ve seen onstage in my time reviewing for Mooney.

Funny bits and quotable lines made for a very watchable play. However, I did feel that Liars at a Funeral is hindered by its plot and flawed premise. To me, this play demonstrates fantastic comedy-writing, but more-or-less average story-writing.

This is a farce revolving around a dysfunctional family’s reunion, but by double casting eight of the roles, half of these characters can never be in a room together.

I understand that there’s some level of depth behind this choice. The duality of these double-casted roles is intended to be important, but I never really felt that. I knew from the outset that there could never be a reunion with the entire ensemble of characters onstage together, so that took away from the intrigue of the plot. I don’t think it was worth following through with this idea for the sake of some themes that still weren’t fully developed by the end of the show.

That said, each of the actors deserves the utmost praise for their performances in each of their roles. Ruby Joy was vulnerable as DeeDee, but also hilariously crude and brazen as her twin Mia. Daniel Pagett got the most laughs of the evening as Quint and Cam, the former a lovable rube and the latter a surprisingly endearing buffoon.

All of the actors gave impressive performances and this is truly a cast of the highest caliber. Ali Joy Richardson’s direction is delightfully nuanced as well. There are some very small, but very funny details in this show that really bring the scenes to life.

So despite my issues with the plot, I found this to be a very enjoyable play. Sophia Fabiilli shines as a comedy-writer here, and Truth’n’Lies Theatre has put together a funny and original piece with an excellent cast with Liars at a Funeral.

Details

  • Liars at a Funeral is playing at the St. Vladimir Theatre (620 Spadina) until May 14, 2017.
  • Shows are at 8:00 PM.
  • Tickets start at $25.
  • You can buy the tickets online or at the front door.
  • Run time is 2h 15 min.
  • Audience Advisory: Contains crude language, mature themes

Photo of Terry Tweed, Rhea Akler, Ruby Joy, and John Healy provided by the company.

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