White Liars and Black Comedy
White Liars is a one-act play first performed in 1967 originally titled White Lies. Peter Shaffer wrote it to precede the 1967 Broadway production of his farce Black Comedy.
White Liars revolves around Sophie Lemberg, an eccentric and disillusioned fortune teller (who imagines herself to be a baroness of the Holy Roman Empire) living in a decaying seaside resort, and the two young men—Tom, the lead singer in a rock band, and Frank, his business manager—who consult her. It soon becomes clear that their lives are much stranger than the
fiction Sophie tries to create in her magic ball.
Sophie – Josie Body
Frank – Daniel Grint
Tom – Daniel Giles
Black Comedy was first performed by the National Theatre in the mid 60’s. This ingenious one-act play is based on a single dazzling idea, which Shaffer pinched from a fight scene in a Peking opera and transformed into a brilliant high-comedy concept of his own. When the lights are on in the London flat where the action is set, the audience is confronted only with impenetrable darkness. But when there is a power cut in the apartment, and the characters suddenly find themselves groping around in pitch-black darkness, the stage is bathed in brilliant light, and those in the auditorium can observe exactly what is going on. The skill with which Shaffer develops the idea is cause for joy and wonder. The harassed hero, Brindsley, is about to meet the military father of his new Sloaney fiancée Carol. Since he’s a struggling artist, and wants to make a good impression, he “borrows” antique furniture from a house-proud
neighbour. The only problem is that the neighbour turns up, too, followed by Brindsley’s former and now vengeful girlfriend. There are blissful moments as a teetotal spinster is mistakenly presented with an enormous whisky instead of her favoured bitter lemon and discovers she likes it, eagerly and repeatedly returning under cover of darkness to the drinks trolley for more; and deft scenes of physical comedy as Brindsley heaves the borrowed furniture past, over and around his unseeing guests as he attempts to return it. – Charles Spencer, The Daily Telegraph)
Brindsley – Dave Fricker
Carol – Elly Tipping
Colonel Melkett – Ian Klemen
Schuppanzigh – Graham Pearcey
Cleo – Victoria Fay
Harold – Nick Carn
Miss Furnival – Tessa Boase
A Stables Theatre production directed by Leigh Shine.
Rehearsal photos by Peter Mould