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Edinburgh Fringe 2022

The Girl Who Was Very Good At Lying

Jump Spark, Omnibus Theatre, Writer: Eoin McAndrew, Director: Fay Lomas

Genre: Comedic, Contemporary, New Writing, Solo Play, Theatre

Venue: Summerhall


Low Down

Catriona has a history of making stuff up. But she’s getting better. When an attractive American tourist arrives, she decides to show him around her Northern Irish town. And she might blur the line between fact and fiction, just a little… Soon she’s telling him about cannibal peasants, human roosters, and the largest orgy ever held on consecrated ground.


“I’m very good at lying and if you’ve got a skill you have to hone it”

Catriona is clearly troubled, her daily routine involves her mum sitting her down every evening and asking ‘what have you done today?’ to which Katrina mumbles and her mum says ‘no, tell me everything, from the start’ so she does – from getting up, to showering, going to work at the local pub, working her shift and coming home – all delivered at a pace reminiscent of Not I by Samuel Beckett.

The phrase tour de force tends to be overused at any Fringe but this torrent of words by Eoin McAndrew delivered with unerring accuracy, pace and subtle physical expression by Rachael Rooney definitely deserves it. Rooney whirls us through her life in a small northern Irish town. The pace of her delivery is pitch perfect – at times so fast we can hardly keep up, at others slow and considered as she builds the tension in a story.

Not much happens in this small town. But one day there is a stranger in the pub, an American, glamourous by sheer virtue of being American and noticeable because the population is only 200. And Catriona wants to get to know him better so she offers to tell him about the history of her small Irish town and the stories begin. Because as she says, she has been lying all her life and ‘if you’ve got a skill you have to hone it’.

There wasn’t a word or move out of place with lighting shifts and sound to take us between scenes that creating the different spaces and places in her life without losing any of the pace. Every move and moment looks to have been carefully considered and crafted by Fay Lomax the director and Georgina Makhubele, the movement director.

Rooney flips between characters using not just voice but subtle shifts of stance, of expression and within seconds the audience has got it, we know exactly where she is and who she is portraying. Throughout, she throws asides to us, commenting on the conversation she is having, the story she is telling, sometimes seeking our support and approval, others just questioning or admitting uncertainty.

The set is a filmy net surround that reflects the subtle lighting design with just one overhead lamp to create her home kitchen and two chairs that create not just the kitchen but the pub, a local church and several other worlds Catriona’s fertile imagination has given birth to.

This is an outstanding piece of solo theatre that will entrance not just audiences but should be required watching for any aspiring solo performer – just don’t abandon hope, a lot of work has gone into crafting this piece and developing the skills (storytelling being a form a lying after all).