Playing at: MLK Jr. Memorial Library: A:5
Remaining Performances: July 13 at 7 p.m., July 16 at 3:30 p.m., July 20 at 7:15 p.m. Tickets available here.
They Say: Four storytellers. Four unbelievable stories. Three are true. One is not. Listen. Laugh. Interrogate. Vote. Can you spot the liar? It’s a lot tougher than you think! Don’t miss the underground storytelling smash hit in its return to Capital Fringe.
Becky’s Take: Most Fringe shows are plays, but this one is more like a game show. Four performers each tell supposedly true stories, and the audience asks them questions to figure out which one is lying. The audience votes for who they think the liar is, and the show ends with the big reveal. Each performance features different people with different stories, so you can’t see the same show twice.
At the first show on July 7, hairdresser Melissa Murphy told the story of a Georgetown socialite who used to blab about her affairs with other people’s husbands whenever she went to the salon. On one of these visits, a spurned wife overheard the socialite talking about her newest affair and threw bleach on her $5,000 handbag. The socialite’s response? She said that it didn’t matter, because her latest boo would just buy her a new one anyway.
Murphy’s story is kind of thing you both do and don’t want to believe, because it taps into how some of us secretly think that the wealthy behave anyway (as the show’s main host Cara Foran reminded the audience, the very rich are different from you and me). Half of the audience voted that Murphy was the liar. Turns out she was telling the truth, and that the socialite did walk in with a new bag the next time.
The other stories were just as hard to believe: a “polite mugging” in Kazakhstan (Keith Mellnick), a bizarre road trip from Vegas to D.C. (John Tong), and a school crush who showed up to a John Brown festival in a Confederate uniform (Meredith Whipple, who turned out to be the liar). The careful juxtaposition of unbelievable fact and fiction made it difficult to figure out who was telling the truth.
How good a time you’ll have at Perfect Liars Club depends on the storytellers that perform that night, and what kind of questions the audience asks. Tong stole the first show with his casual humor and good ear for timing, and plenty of people in the audience that night made the performers laugh with the thoroughness of their questions—asking about the geography of a Kazakh town, the socialite’s sex life, and whether Tong’s cat that he took with him on the road trip was still alive.
This show is great for people who like bar games (in fact, it is a bar game, since the Perfect Liars Club holds shows every month at Bier Baron). And hearing people’s stories is only half the fun—the other half is the way the show makes you evaluate, decide, then second-guess yourself and start all over again.
See it if: You like guessing games and/or The Moth.
Skip it if: You just want to see a traditional play (no hate).