Edinburgh Fringe 2013
The comical, frolicsome tale of two hapless lovers with a truth-telling disease: they can only ever tell the complete and absolute truth. This is a fluffy, silly-time rag from Western Australia. A care-free, easy good time.
I (Honestly) Love You begins with a simple enough premise. Two total strangers (played by George Gayler and Paul Goddard) with an incredibly rare disease, Vitiositas Veritas (an obsessive-compulsive truth-telling disease), bump into one another in a coffee shop and decide it’s a good idea to get together. Both have sad histories littered with failed love affairs (as you can imagine) and it seems like an obvious match. But of course there are complications (as there always are). If some shows on the fringe are analogous to Walking Dead or C.S.I. (gritty and tense, violent and dramatic), I (Honestly) Love You is the Friends of Fringe – light-hearted, playful, accessible, well-written and well-played.
Damon Lockwood (Playwright) definitely knows how to play with the audience; with the conventions of proscenium-style, fourth-wall theatre. This is, of course, nothing new – shows have been taking the mick out of the invisible wall almost as long as there’ve been plays, and on the Fringe audience-interactivity has become something of a norm. But I (Honestly) Love You places itself firmly behind the fourth wall just so that it can peek cheekily out from behind it with a wink and a smile. The action is punctuated by asides and Family Guy-esque interludes, and the dumb-show cum music video is one of the best I’ve ever seen. Rather than falling flat, or fluttering weakly, these jokes add to the experience. There is wit, innovation, and rakish Aussie charm throughout, inviting us to be part of the fun.
The design is cocksure and tongue-in-cheek, taking a theme and repeating it in endless variations that, simple as they might be, never failed to elicit laughter, if only for the sheer novelty. The interchangeability of the supporting cast (Talei Howell-Price and Damon Lockwood) is remarkable; they switch effortlessly from role to role, winking at the audience as they go. It’s a strange thing, this play – taking all of the elements on their own, this should be a square, but it’s not. It’s cool and suave even as it bumbles. It laughs at itself even as it manages to pull it all off. A refreshingly unpretentious comedy with a distinctively Australian flavour, I (Honestly) Love You is a good time guaranteed.