Perfect Liars Club is an underground event in the DC area that has been entertaining audiences for over a year. Most of its performances, including the Fringe shows, are sold-out in record time; the website claims that once tickets sold out in 90 seconds! It may seem strange that an event which is neither star-studded nor strictly theatrical would sell out so often and so quickly, but the answer is in the experience.
A very simple idea, and a remarkably amusing one.
The show has a simple premise: it is essentially an adult version of the game “two truths and a lie” that was so popular at summer camps and middle schools. There are four contestants, who can be any old volunteer with a great story to tell. They each stand up and tell a story about something that happened to them. However, only one of them is telling the truth. The audience is given a brief intermission to try to poke holes in the stories, and then gets the chance to interrogate the storytellers. And at the end everyone can vote for who they think is the liar.
A very simple idea, and a remarkably amusing one. The atmosphere has a way of transforming strangers in the audience into conspirators, as they work together to spot the liar. Each story is gone over with a fine-tooth comb, looking for inconsistencies, and your neighbors become your teammates in the game. Rather than the audience being some Brecht-inspired, disinterested observers of a show in which they have no stake, the atmosphere becomes heated and charged with interest. It’s a great way to see a show, and be able to do so much more than just watch.
The stories can involve anything; this particular performance included a woman’s first work assignment with an aggressive Wyoming rancher, a saga about reclaiming a lost dog, a spiritually underwhelming trip to India and a hookup gone sour and ending in grand theft auto. They range from so plausible as to be hardly memorable, to so inconceivable that you don’t know how someone could have made it up. All have been well-researched and planned, and the tellers themselves are admirably well-equipped to stand up to interrogation. Both the performers and the creators, Roz and Layla, should be proud of the intimate, exciting new experience they’ve created.
And in case you were wondering, our liar was the grand theft auto guy. And no, I didn’t guess correctly – it’s harder than you’d think!
Running Time: 90 minutes with no intermission.
Advisory: Recommended for adults only.
Perfect Liars Club ended its Fringe run on July 20, 2014, but will commence shows starting September 8th. For ticket information click here.