Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Liars (Under St. Mark's)

By Leah
short vignettes • consistent light-hearted tone • strong ending

BOTTOM LINE: Liars is a fun evening which takes a look at some squirmingly uncomfortable truths.

Liars is an evening of short vignettes, all centered around the different ways we lie to each other. There are eight short plays in all, all by different playwrights, but using the same actors. Overall, the evening tends toward a slightly surreal, warped version of reality, which works perfectly with the subject matter. Obviously, because each sketch has a different author, some are stronger than others. My favorites include "LOL" by Caroline O'Hare, which spot-on captures awkward IM flirting; "Peek" which manages to be simultaneously hilarious and vaguely heartbreaking, focusing on a man haunted by a, ahem, little white lie; and the show's conclusion, "Evacuation Plan" by Jeff Sproul, a completely sweet love story, despite its bathroom centric plot.

The cast works well on a sketch comedy level, switching hats and alternating between broad strokes and squirmingly subtle ones as the situation dictates. One standout is Alicia Barnatchez, whose impeccable comic timing brings life to every scene she plays.

Overall, Liars is Theater Lite. With the exception of "Peek" and "Evacuation Plan" the scenes don't have a whole lot to say about lying or its implications. On the other hand, what works for the show as a whole is just that: it keeps the funny coming and doesn't get bogged down in heavy-handed preaching. It's a well-constructed comedy show that's a great way to start off a night.

(Liars runs May 7th through 23rd, 8pm Thursdays through Saturdays, 94 St. Marks Place
Basement theater. Run time is 75 minutes with no intermission. Tickets are $15 or $12 for students & seniors, available at, 212-868-4444. For more show info, visit

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