The pitch for Honest Lies seemed pretty set up in stone: Claire and Sam are a couple and dispute their acting skills in their flat. Their relationship seems all but healthy. But Honest Lies is not your traditional play and what was announced was not entirely what happened…

The Etcetera Theatre is a small theatre, nested above a Camden pub. It is small, with the first row of seats invading the tiny stage. There, you can only see a man (Alexander Jeremy) reading a book, sitting on a made-up couch. At 9pm sharp, Georgie Matthews waltz in. She plays Claire, who's just came out of her first Shakespearean performance, satisfied, proud and excited.
Sam, her boyfriend, the guy who was reading on the couch, starts evaluating her performance. He is highly critical and mean, arguing this is all in Claire's best interest. To be honest, he is an a**hole!

As they're arguing on the couch, Sam - or is it Alexander Jeremy? - starts to forget his line. The audience shivers and starts thinking: "Oh no, this is not good!" … But what looks like a huge mishap is in fact the start of a new play, within the play. Play-ception!

I won't spoil the fun for you but the rest of the performance involves a director jumping in and filling an actor's shoes, the breaking of the sacra-saint fourth wall and the participation of the public.

More than a play within a play within a performance, Honest Lies is a reflection on theatre; from the actors' perspective but also from the point of view of a director and the audience. Why do we watch theatre? Why do actors act? Is theatre actually important?

I personally adored Georgie Matthews' performance as it was highly relatable, especially her character's rant about the position of female actresses in theatre. Alexander Jeremy switched from playing a despicable man to playing a more vulnerable one. Finally, Christopher Walthorne who is the writer/director (and much more!) of Honest Lies delivered a genuine, clever and original work.

Honest Lies is intense, fun and will make you hop from one feeling to another in a split second. Catch the play at the Etcetera Theatre until 11th of March and make sure to keep an eye on the company, the Putnockee Players.