Review: How to lie and get away with it

Show business, baby.

Art cambridge student Cambridge Theatre charity Corpus Playroom how to lie and get away with it

Look at the starting situation. You have just graduated. Congrats, now you can capture the heart of the world, all whilst holding tightly your first-class degree in your arms as if it were a new-born baby. But what to do when the world of work spits you out like the sweaty bed of your one-night stand in the painful morning-after?

In the Cambridge-based Godfrey’s and West’s farce, How to lie and get away with it, Elliot (Uma Ramachandran) gets fed up with working as an unpaid intern.  We arts students certainly all know the feeling of being underappreciated. Elliott rebels on behalf of all of us, breaks the curse and decides to make some money.

Elliott’s one and only job is to save the night from falling apart. Credit: Laura Wells

The brilliant master-plan? Profiting from organizing a charity concert. Don’t tell it to Marx or a King’s student, but she somehow forgets to mention the lack of salary to her artists. At this point, the farcical disaster – and exploitation, obviously – is a foregone conclusion. The charity show starts coming to bits as if it were the glittering confetti of the post-première celebration itself. Elliott’s one and only job is to save the night from falling apart. But that’s show business, baby.

The three artists don’t really help her not to go nuts. Luke Baines proves the most convincing in the part of the Justin Bieber inspired, extroverted champagne-socialist. Meanwhile Myles O’Gorman impressively manages to embody the Baritone Brothers; in shocking the audience, he performs a song in his triumvirate selves like an ingenuous psychopath. Another highlight is Robin McFarland as Reverend Buble who wears the cassock with the same dignity as he wraps himself in a red lace scarf.

An ingenuous psychopath.

Eimear Dooley’s transformation from a greedy “slut” into a humble Michael Bublé-fan is also impressive in the role of Elliott’s unmerciful boss. Carine Valarché’s skilfully sustained performance, meanwhile, is hilarious. Perhaps I’m partial, because I can easily identify myself with the character of the sexually frustrated theatre reviewer, but the nymphomaniac columnist is the best-written part of the show.

I must not tell lies

The intentionally clumsy stage design and the inviting play of the actors makes the auditorium melt into the imagined backstage where the whole play takes part. As a result, the audience finds itself in the firing line of the Elliott’s embarrassments on stage as the net of lies escalates.

“I must not tell lies” is the line which Professor Umbridge engraved into the mind of our generation. Elliott learns this lesson even better than Harry could.

4/5 stars