By Trent Scherer
Brad Fraser’s newest play, True Love Lies about a father’s past coming back to change his family’s life, is opening the 40th anniversary season at Factory Theatre. After a well-received world premiere in London, England at the start of the year, Fraser’s play is a witty piece of writing.
I should say upfront that I am a touch biased on this play. This is because True Love Lies has a couple of very familiar Fraser characters from Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love returning to the stage. I directed Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love a number of years ago, and have written papers and given lectures on the play. In fact, the movie version, Love and Human Remains, was the first gay movie I ever bought. So, these characters hold a special place in my heart.
With this in mind, if you have not seen Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love then you may want to rent Love and Human Remains to get up to speed. Although, it is not necessary by any means, the show does certainly stand on it’s own.
The staging of True Love Lies is fairly simplistic. The set is minimalist and no one actually eats the food put before them – and there are a large number of plates that rotate though the scenes. The scene transitions are tight with swift movement of actors, props, and lighting never missing a beat.
Like the transitions, Fraser’s writing is tight and swift, so listen and process fast because it’s a whirlwind of words. It’s a great comedy that, although it has a load of one-liners, is still a poignant play about honesty and family.
The five actors in this production work well together. This was opening night, and in the moments where mom and dad finish what the other is saying needs to be broken in a bit more, but that will come as they settle into the groove. Oddly, everyone seems to hold his or her arms up and out more often than most of us ever would in real life. But, if this is the worse I can say, you can imagine that the production is a great show.
My buddy Evan, who had yet to see a Brad Fraser play, agreed that the play was fast moving and required that extra second to process. He thought it was a superb production. His favourite actor was the mother, Carolyn, played by Julie Stewart. Stewart is a perfect representation of a middle-aged mother who suddenly finds her world turned upside down. She has some great moments.
True Love Lies is a full two hours of great laughs and good moments and well worth seeing.
–True Love Lies plays at the Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst St) until November 1st , 2009
-Performances run Tuesday to Saturday at 8pm with Sunday matinees at 2pm.
-Ticket cost ranges from $25-$35. Sunday matinee is pay-what-you-can.
– Tickets are available at the Factory Theatre by calling 416.504.9971
Photo by Ed Gass-Donnelly. Julie Stewart, Ashley Wright and Andrew Craig in True Love Lies.