Loveable love story plays well for laughs
By Joana Simmons
“The naked truth is always better than the best-dressed lie.” – Ann Landers
Or is it? What if the naked truth is all you have? I (Honestly) Love You has played at Edinburgh Fringe and New York Fringe and is here to tickle the National Theatre stage and make audiences giggle and squirm with satisfaction with its not-so-conventional but oh-so-comedic tale of what happens when two people with a rare psychological condition that prohibits them from telling the truth fall madly in love.
We are introduced to the story and told love can be “everything and nothing at the same time.” In front of a calendar backdrop with certain relationship milestones on particular dates the story ensues with sharp witty dialogue and some interesting audience interaction. If reality TV has taught us anything, it’s that it’s not necessarily what happens in reality that is exciting, but relationships- and a relationship built on complete honesty (“yes, your butt does look big in that” “I hate cricket”) is both heart-warming and hilarious.
The show has Melbourne actors Jimmy James Eaton and George Gayler in the lead roles and supported by Talei Howell- Price and Damon Lockwood– also playwright and director. Howell-Price and Lockwood do a stellar job of playing multiple supporting roles, sometimes within the same scene, which are exquisitely defined, physically and vocally. Easton’s comic timing and larger-than-life facial expressions make his eruptions of truth gut-busting and cringe-worthy in all the best ways, and Gayler gives an authentic and (obviously) honest portrayal of a woman who meets a guy she just wants to make it work with, and is an tasteful match to her onstage love.
This is the first show I’ve seen with so much thought and attention to detail put into the stage and costume design, and Cherie Hewson, the creator responsible, can’t go with out commendation. This clever, well-seasoned production will gently pluck your heart strings, question your morals and put the laugh in love. It’s great! (Honestly).
Venue: The National Theatre, St Kilda
Dates: 13 – 16 April 2016