By Chandler Levack, July 3, 2010
Editorial rating: 3 out of 5 stars
The Big Lie tries very hard to be a hardboiled homage to film noir and, thanks to Ryan Seros fast-talking journalist (acting like the Bogart he wishes he could be), this ones a charmer. Though the reliance on screen silhouettes for dramatic effect is awkward and the July 2 performance yielded more than a few missed cues, a compelling mystery - with the proper Chandler-esque dialogue to boot - is a rare find at the Fringe. Keep your expectations low and youll find much to enjoy.
The Big Lie: ripe with hard-boiled potential
By Ryan West, July 3, 2010
Writers Warren MacDonald and Ryan Sero have crafted a stylistic tribute to the noir classics in their script for The Big Lie, presented by Audeamus, in which newshawk Danny Bell seeks to unravel the truth behind a mysterious mentalist who claims to communicate with the dead. Dannys saucy editor and the Magnificent Bugiardos sultry assistant make up the femme fatales of this caper in which the truth is more mercurial than a hard boiled reporter is willing to admit. Macdonald and Sero are spot on with their neo-noir dialogue, which the latter rattles off with typewriter precision in his double duty as the lead reporter. Unfortunately much of the inherently visual and cinematic appeal of the genre is lost on the stage, despite some fairly clever use of silhouette screens as backdrops. Ultimately the project feels ripe with potential, but might need a few more performances before theyve mastered their tempo.
Mooney on Theatre
The Big Lie: In which our intrepid reporter must solve the mystery of a magician-turned-physic, dodge the distractions of dames and meet his deadline. No, the play doesnt star Cary Grant. But it could have.
By Dana Lacey, July 7, 2010
It was sticky day, the kind that makes you long for winters cruel slap. Last thing i wanted to do was sit in a theatre with a bunch of bodyheat. Imagine my surprise when the show started with a cool, breezy jazz that calmed the senses while a fedora-wearing shadow clacked away on a typewriter. The shadow would soon emerge from behind the screen, now a zoot suit-clad investigative reporter-turned-entertainment columnist named Danny Bell. Hes about to watch his deadline whiz past him and his editor is breathing down his neck. I feel for the guy. His neo-noir fasttalk and smooth turns of phrase keep him out of hot water, for now, but hes got a story to chase. Hes caught the whiff of a scam and once hes on the scent, nothing can distract this bloodhoundexcept maybe the odd dame or two. Cant blame him both the gals in the show were brimming with class and could talk their way into any 40s-era gangster movie. They keep up with Bells quick, dark humour with quip after well-crafted quip. Real swell skirts. But even the sight of some well-placed gams wont deter our intrepid reporter as he sets off to prove that the towns biggest hero a psychic that can commune with the dead is nothing more than grifter. But will he lose his job in the process?
By Kerry Freek, July 9, 2010
Danny Bells (Ryan Sero) recent turn from hardened journalist to entertainment columnist isnt sitting well with him, and hes anxious for a good exposé. Enter the Magnificent Bugiardo (Jack Clift), a magician/spiritualist/con artist with a curvy assistant looking to make the big reveal, uncovering his fraud once and for all. Make the right links and youve got a story. Of course, theres a twist. Unfortunately its not very complicated, nor is it unexpected. Despite its relative simplicity, The Big Lie is decent attempt at the neo-noir genre - the shadowplay set and Badalamenti-esque soundtrack lend to the atmosphere - and features a fairly talented cast. The obvious star is Lea Russell, whose conniving damsel-in-distress assistant is funny and quick-witted. As the fast-talking investigator, Sero is impressive but sometimes gets ahead of himself and trips on the dialogue. At times his delivery becomes less like acting and more like reciting a tongue twister. Clifts Bugiardo is reliable, but the other secondary character, Bells office mate/love interest, played by Stephanie Crothers, could use a bit of work. Overall? Not bad, kid. Not bad at all.
Ontario Arts Review
By Michael Mandel, July 10, 2010
Danny Bell is an investigative reporter / entertainment writer who discovers that a high profile stage performer is a fraud. As Bell sets out to expose and discredit the charlatan, he finds the task to be greater than he anticipated, discovering that even when confronted by clear and inarguable truth, some would still rather cling to comforting lies and deception. Wonderfully written, with 1940s dialogue that crackles, this is not just a great play, but a necessary play, as the characters explore the nature and importance of Truth itself. In a Postmodern world that has largely lost its epistemological anchors, The Big Lie asks all the right questions. As I said to the young actors post-performance, Truth Matters. Are we as an audience able to read the writing on the wall? My Pick of the Fringe 2010.