Lies turn out to be better than the truth in Eoin McAndrew’s enthralling play, The Girl Who Was Very Good At Lying. Lonely misfit Catriona feels shunned by everyone in her small seaside town in Northern Ireland and spied on by her mother who worries about her daughter’s penchant for telling lies. Working behind the bar at the local pub, she throws herself into the path of a reasonably attractive American man who is visiting the area in search of his family’s history. She takes him on a guided tour, drawing on her considerable skills at making things up to create a new history for the town.
It is her series of colourful, amusing and sometimes lurid tales that show how stories can reveal a greater truth than mere facts and cold reality. Here, they reveal the injustices and cruelties of life as well as the joys, including a particularly poignant episode in an insane asylum. Giving an intense and impressive solo performance, Rachael Rooney is a compelling storyteller, bringing Catriona’s town and its characters – real and imagined – to vivid life. Directed by Fay Lomas, it is an exquisitely paced character study that never flags, with the shifts in Catriona’s mood and imagination beautifully matched by Amy Hill’s lighting design. By the end, lies start to give way to a more hopeful future for Catriona but we can still enjoy the delightfully deceitful ride getting there.
The Girl Who Was Very Good At Lying runs at Summerhall as part of Edinburgh Fringe until 28 August 2022. Tickets at festival.summerhall.co.uk and edfringe.com.