30 January 2018

Things I know to be True at Lyric Hammersmith

Something about this show appealed to me so I went. It certainly helped that it was on at Lyric Hammersmith which is both convenient and has good front of house facilities, including decent beer and tasty mushroom burgers. This time I went to the right side of the Circle, just for a change, and happily parted with £35 for seat A6.

Thinks I know to be True was a set of family dramas. That family were two parents and their four grown-up children, two women and two men, and each had their own drama. These dramas were revealed sequentially making the play deliberately episodic.

The dramas were more dramatic than those that most families have to deal with. One or two could be expected but all six was a lot to bear. The father was made redundant at 56 and had not worked since. He had spent so much time working in the garden that there was nothing left to do. He was frustrated and bored. His was by far the least dramatic of the dramas.

To mix things up a little, though of no direct relevance to the plots, there were frequent touches of physical theatre such as sliding furniture onto the stage or lifting and spinning one of the characters. These short pieces created breaks between the dramas and gave us all a chance to breath.

While never hitting any exceptionally high notes Things I Know to be True maintained a high level of interest and entertainment. This was down to the excellent cast and the skillful production.

The one negative was not the play's fault. There was a school group sitting immediately behind me and some of them spoke constantly, despite being asked politely at half-time not to, while the others were content just to eat noisily. This was particularly annoying during the several quiet scenes. Theatres could and should do more to encourage good audience behaviour.

Luckily Things I Know to be True was a strong enough show to keep most of the audience engaged and to combat the disruption from the less than attentive audience members.

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