Previewed 22 June 2016, Opened 27 June 2016, Closed 3 September 2016 at the Wyndham's Theatre in London
Florian Zellerís play The Truth in London, adapted by Christopher Hampton, transferring to the West End for a strictly limited season following an acclaimed run at the Menier Chocolate Factory.
A tale of two couples that explores friendship, deceit and suspicion.
The cast features Alexander Hanson as 'Michel', Tanya Franks as 'Laurence', Robert Portal as 'Paul' and Frances O'Connor as 'Alice' who are all reprising their roles from the original Menier Chocolate Factory staging (10 March to 7 May 2016). Directed by Lindsay Posner with lighting by Howard Harrison, music by Matthew Scott and sound by Gregory Clarke.
Florian Zeller's black comedy The Father, which was translated and adapted into English by Christopher Hampton has recently enjoyed two successful season's in London's West End in a production directed by James Macdonald and starring Kenneth Cranham in the title role at the Wyndham's Theatre in 2015 and at the Duke of York's Theatre in 2016.
When this production transferred here to the Wyndham's Theatre in June 2016, John Nathan in The London Metro praised it as "a brilliant European comedy that lifts the layers of lies shrouding many a marriage." Fiona Mountford in The London Evening Standard commented that this is "a slick little middle-class comedy of loose morals and bad manners," adding that, while "Zeller offers nothing profound or even particularly memorable, thereís crisp enjoyment to be had in Lindsay Posnerís production as we ponder exactly who might have the upper hand in the deceit stakes." Sam Marlowe in The Times described it as being "as twisty as a corkscrew and taut as a cheesewire, Florian Zellerís comedy is an exquisitely cruel kind of fun," highlighing that "in Lindsay Posnerís cool, fluid production, the acting is impeccable... occasionally Posner allows the contained, ferocious energy to dip, and the play is brittle, glassy ó a clever, sparkling entertainment without much real depth. Yet itís still sharp: 90 minutes of wicked diversion that, after the laughter fades, leaves you with a disquieting, reawakened awareness of the muted savagery we are capable of inflicting on those we claim to love. Itís a stiletto wrapped in a silk stocking ó an elegant provocation." Neil Norman in The Daily Express wrote that "a quartet of terrific actors keeps the 90 minutes zinging with wit and cavalier intimacy... this is a stinging boulevard comedy that combines Pinter with Moliere and leaves you wanting more."
Alexander Hanson's London theatre credits include Richard Eyre's staging of the Andrew Lloyd Webber's Stephen Ward the Musical at the Aldwych Theatre in 2013; Lindsay Posner's revival of Oscar Wilde's comedy An Ideal Husband at the Vaudeville Theatre in 2010; and Jonathan Kent's production of the new musical Marguerite at the Haymarket Theatre in 2008. Robert Portal's West End stage credits include Edward Hall's production of Michael Hastings' play Calico at the Duke of York's Theatre in 2004.
When this production was originally seen at the Menier Chocolate Factory in March 2016, Sarah Hemming in The Financial Times wrote that "it is, as one of the characters in The Truth observes, a question that has taxed philosophers for centuries. What is truth? And is honesty always a virtue? French playwright Florian Zeller tackles this knotty problem not in an earnest treatise, but in a dazzling boulevard farce about a muddled marital mťnage... Lindsay Posnerís production is as sleek as a French bob. Dark, clever, excruciatingly funny fare." Ann Treneman in The Times commented that "translated seamlessly by Christopher Hampton... The director, Lindsay Posner, can take credit for the fact that there isn't one lackadaisical moment in this 90-minute, no interval, accomplished production... It's a great mix, this play, both playful and poignant, cruel and funny. And that's the truth." Dominic Cavendish in The Daily Telegraph said that "the twists are a touch predictable - some of the scenes groan with contrivance - but the production (briskly directed by Lindsay Posner, with chic impersonal interiors by Lizzie Clachan) has an overall confidence and poise that feels plausible and there are strong undercurrents of emotional veracity." Paul Taylor in The Independent held that, "wittily translated by Christopher Hampton and premiered in Lindsay Posner's elegantly astringent production, it's a sophisticated dissection of marital hypocrisies and a comic, coolly knowing challenge to the credo that honesty is the best policy." Henry Hitchings in The London Evening Standard highlighted that "Lindsay Posnerís production doesnít always have enough zip, yet itís shrewdly performed. The result is slippery entertainment, veering towards farce but also laced with cruel human insight, and the sixth of its seven scenes is a knockout." Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail commented: "Here we have two middle-aged couples and a story of marital infidelity exposed. The culprits must decide if they will tell the truth. Might lies not be less hurtful?... Florian Zeller pursues his symmetrical plot with sterile doggedness. But though I admired this bleak comedyís modernist aplomb, I wished for some love amid the cynicism." Michael Billington in The Guardian explained that "while the play, in Christopher Hamptonís immaculate translation, is civilised, witty and sophisticated, it is shadowed by the inescapable memory of Harold Pinterís Betrayal... But, while this 90-minute play is highly diverting, it strikes me as an elegant variation on standard boulevard comedy, and one that doesnít match the pain or passion of Pinter."
"Michel is a scruple-free smoothie - 'I find guilt so useless' - conducting an extramarital dalliance with Alice, the wife of his unemployed best friend, all thrusting chin and chest). But our perceptions of who is deceiving whom keep being reshuffled, and it's glorious watching the bluster and bluff of Alexander Hanson's Michel being torn to tatters. Florian Zeller's MoliŤre-ish comedy of hypocrisy clearly also owes a debt to Pinter's Betrayal: it's less homage than unabashed smash and grab, with added 'bof!'" The Sunday Times
"Florian Zeller has a new offering, in a pitch-perfect translation by Christopher Hampton, that looks certain to be another hit. The Truth is funny, thought-provoking and plays seamlessly as a dream... It is an unusually accomplished piece about two unfaithful couples. A millefeuille of truth and deceit, it keeps us guessing: duped, enlightened, duped again... It is an entertaining, unsettling, must-see show Ė there are depths to its shallowness." The Observer
"Nothing is quite as it seems and hankies are essential in this lacerating piece, The Truth Ė but this time for mopping up tears of near-hysterical laughter. Anyone who knows Pinterís Betrayal will recognise this play as both a homage and a playful, farcical replay of the more painful original Ė albeit without Betrayalís reverse chronology, with tennis replacing squash, and a distinctly sophisticated, French accent... After the play finished, I wanted to see it immediately again to appreciate Florian Zellerís dazzling craftsmanship as well as his penetrating insight in to the human capability to deceive. Highly recommended." The Mail on Sunday
The Truth in London at the Wyndham's Theatre previewed from 22 June 2016, opened on 27 June 2016 and closed on 3 September 2016.