The Greatest Liar in All the World is an extension/parallel exploration of children's favourite Pinocchio. Through a dizzying blend of live music, comedy, clown, monologue, physical theatre and puppetry, Familia de la Noche spin a mighty yarn about what could have happened to Pinocchio had his lying abilities been reversed - it's not that he can't lie; he's too damn good at it. Constantly referring back to iconic scenes from Carlo Collodi's famous work and setting the story as a reflection from the marionette at the end of his career, the company explore what it means to be lied to, what we achieve from lying and, most pertinently, what we lose.
The design and direction of the piece is it's strongest feature. A company of supporting players to the eponymous liar flit and rush around him and recreate his memories with flair and gusto, desperate to keep the magic alive. Actors playing actors playing characters sounds trivial - even trite - but the commitment and direction of the piece pull you into a Dickensian, carnival world of which is so vibrant, exciting and full of life that one may find themselves desperate to stay in this fantasy land of fables and morality tales after the play has ended.
The smorgasbord of disciplines on display, although mightily impressive, does lead to some rough mess around the edges. Sometimes less is more and a few narrative beats could have benefited from a slight trimming down from the constant onslaught of sights and sounds. That being said, Familia de la Noche have created a rather special piece of theatre that provides deep belly laughs, toe curling tension and, as the lights come down for the final time, a number of misty eyes.