A Talent for Lying

Set in a cafe, this helping from Octopus Soup Theatre initially provides nothing that an audience wouldn't have seen before. With an awkward nerd and a glamorous girl that is completely unaware of her beauty, this random meeting of complete opposites Aidan (Liam McCarthy) and Lucy (Sinead O'Brien) ending up at the same table hardly screams originality from the off. However, the constant interruptions from the cranky waiter (Ivan Luis) provide the light relief that is needed in this succession of cringe-worthy conversations between the pair.

Sweet though this play was, it was also rather predictable.

Wannabe writer Aidan lacks the inspiration that he desires in order to write his novel, instead seeking solace by copying the words from already established writers - an activity that Lucy does not take much time in noticing. However, his seemingly lacklustre life is mirrored in that of the individual he is sharing his table with. Excruciatingly insecure, she feels the need to make it known that she has a boyfriend in Declan, someone it soon transpires that Aidan knows too - of course! Though both may be aware of him, hints are illuminated as to neither of them being overly intimate with him despite Aiden's insistence that he's driving to his place the next day and would be more than happy to give his female counterpart a lift. So begins the escapism that encapsulates this production.

Lucy provides the spark that is so lacking in Aidan's life in getting his literary abilities off the ground. Both devising scenarios away from the cafe in which they currently find themselves, the two imagine how bright their futures could be together. Young romance leading to a family, even in their imaginings comes the inevitable spectre of death, with Aidan initially bumping off Lucy in the tale which goes down less than favourably with her. Constantly not wishing to, but always managing to, offend Lucy, his relentless, bumbled attempts at doing so cannot but help make the audience warm to the possibility that they could be an item in reality.

Ultimately, in spite of this play providing the message that anyone can reach for the skies, the duo are brought back down to earth in this tragi-comedy by the resolution of A Talent for Lying, with both of them parting ways. The harsh realities that the protagonists fight against throughout this performance continue until the bitter end with Aidan receiving yet another jibe from the waiter whose perpetual lack of customer service stands in comic contrast to the message 'Good Vibes Only' emblazoned on his shirt. Sweet though this play was, it was also rather predictable.

Reviews by Oliver Lugg

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The Blurb

Lucy sits beside Aidan in a busy café. He says she knows him, but she doesn’t. Though determined not to be written into one of his stories, Lucy is persuaded to imagine a past she can’t remember. “Outstanding... a class piece of work” **** (London Theatre Review)