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All the Things I Lied About review at Summerhall, Edinburgh – ‘potent and personal’

All the Things I Lied About, Summerhall, Edinburgh All the Things I Lied About, Summerhall, Edinburgh

Katie Bonna launches into her solo show like she’s giving a TED talk. She wants to talk about lying. Why we do it and what we lie about. In a “post-truth” post-Brexit world, what does it mean to be honest?  She talks about the small lies we tell each other and the big lies that get slapped on the side of campaign buses. She describes how we all learn to lie at a very young age, that it’s innate, and she illustrates the neurological mechanisms of lying, cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias, using water pistols and ping-pong balls.

Gradually this fairly familiar theatre-lecture format gives way to something more raw and personal. The show morphs into a story about psychological abuse as Bonna begins to talk about her family and the lies her father told to her mother; the pain he caused.

Bonna, who co-wrote and co-starred with Richard Marsh in the witty, uplifting Dirty Great Love Story, is a strong performer of her own material. She is a warm, intelligent presence, and she handles the piece’s shifting emotional demands with skill. Joe Murphy’s direction keeps things tight and the piece manages to articulate how abuse doesn’t always have to be physical while also making its audience really consider both the relationship between truth-telling and performance and the lies we tell every day.

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Moving, potent and personal solo show exploring the psychology of lying