Things I Know To Be True at The Liverpool Playhouse

Posted on 2 November 2016
By Chris High
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Andrew Bovell’s play Things I Know to be True is currently running at The Liverpool Playhouse. I think it should be seen by everybody who loves theatre. Having watched it, however, these are the only two things I Know to be True. Everything else, following the most marvellous two hours of emotional, gut wrenching, laugh inducing, tear jerking theatre imaginable, is open to doubt.

What is love, what is family, what is life? What is success, what is failure, what is happiness? What is fair, what is truth, what is just? What is home?

Everything under the sun is brought into question, unravelled and put back together again in a manner that is both enthralling and disturbing; powerful and gentle. Through the actions of a single family and the fracturing and splintering of their idyllic world, a mirror is held up to each and everyone of us. And a pretty sight it does not make.

The script, with its juxtaposing mix of jovial light and feral dark is a joy to read let alone see acted out. Andrew Bovell’s mastery lies in his observational dexterity, in his ability to take the simplest of actions and hone them into something rose-thorn sharp, yet hide the deadliest of tendrils beneath the bloom so that we might stumble and fall, gasping, at any moment.

The setting of a family garden with its ubiquitous shed and neatly pruned bushes, is a master stroke. The tranquility of it all lulling us into a security that is more than false, it is punishingly cruel; the lighting and the music adding nothing but depth and vigour to that which is already bottomless and energised enough.

And then there is the cast, with its delicious deceitful delivery of the vocal and the physical so that Things I Know to be True stops becoming a play early on and grows- blossoms even – into an event the audience themselves become a part of on so many levels. The cast make this happens, but this is not of their making alone but rather that of the prowess of the playwright and the expertise, wit and guile of the directors, Geordie Brookman and Scott Graham.

A thought provoking, life affirming, emotional avalanche of a play, Things I Know to be True asks questions of everything and delivers all the answers to each individual who sees it on a purely singular basis.

A true theatrical triumph that makes us stop and wonder at what we have, over and over again, and ask whether or not it is true at all.

Things I Know to be True
Liverpool Playhouse Theatre
November 2 – November 5, 2016
Author: Andrew Bovell
Directors: Geordie Brookman & Scott Graham
Producer: Frantic Assembly
Music: Nils Frahm
Set & Lighting: Geoff Cobham
Cast: Imogen Stubbs, Ewan Stewart, Natalie Casey, Richard Mylan, Kirsty Oswald, Mathew Barker
PR Rating: 5/5 Unforgettable

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