BY ALICE KLUGHERZ
“I (Honestly) Love You” is a comedy about love and the terrors of both honesty and lying in a relationship, written by Damon Lockwood (who is also one of the actors). The four performers are so good you could swear they wrote it together. Like a well practiced team each of the actors plays numerous characters as well as coat racks, tables and other non-living objects. The show moves so fast it’s like watching a relay race of words and physical comedy.
The story wraps around the romance of Lloyd Rees, played by Paul Goddard, and Belle Ashton, played by George Gayler with Talei Howell-Price and Damon Lockwood playing friends, waiters and more. Lloyd and Paul meet in a fancy coffee shop and soon discover they both have the same disease – Vitiositas Veritas – an inability to lie. As most of us know, even a small dose of this affliction can cause trouble in a relationship. But in this show it is the premise from which all jokes spring.
One of the first lines in the show is like a dare: “If love is a drug then truth is a poison”. The rest of the show is a wild ride that just might disprove this hypothesis. The story turns romantic clichés inside out to a shiny new side that makes you laugh something awful. Mr. Lockwood builds each joke in and around the events of this afflicted couple as they face the stages of their new relationship. He creates a rich physical and verbal world that takes us by surprise by consistently breaking out of every premise he sets up. Masterfully quick, the writer/director seems to know where the rest of us are and if we’re lost or comfortable the scene takes a turn for the funnier.
For example there is a great scene with 7 characters played by the 4 actors – the additional characters rendered with strong accents and mannerisms. Just as I’m starting to lose the thread of who is who, (yet) another person is added and the actors ask ‘who is this?’ At that moment they are both in and out of character as if, (like the audience) they, too, were barely following, and this extra person is unexpected and confusing to them also. The four actors, find more and more ingenious ways to break, bend and mutilate that pesky 4th wall.
The set is a large yellow calendar along the back wall/upstage of the theatre. It’s staggered into three sections which are used for entrances and exits throughout the show. Some of the days are marked: “date night”, “hook up” and one day just has question marks. This ingenious set, and the costumes that compliment it, are conceived and created by Cherie Hewson. Every bit of her work adds to the humor and style of the show.
The truth of the clichés: “do these pants make me fat” and “”was it good for you” will never change, we’ve all said it or heard it. But who could dream up this whole world and let us play in it? Four actors from Australia, whose talent, truth and physical comedy make “I (Honestly) Love You”, one of the funniest shows at the Fringe. As the friend (I who was with) and I concluded, “Maybe a soul mate is the person whose truth and lying meter is the same as ours.” Does the truth win out? Don’t deny yourself a good time, go find out!
I (honestly) Love You Lockwood Productions Writer & Directed by Damon Lockwood, Actors: Damon Lockwood, Paul Goddard, George Gayler and Talei Howell-Price Stage & Costume Design by Cherie Hewson
VENUE #10: The Kraine Theater
SUN 18 @ 1:30 MON 19 @ 8:30 WED 21 @ 5:15