Theatre: Little White Lies On tour

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The Independent Culture
Like a contemporary version of Boccaccio's Decameron, the imaginative world of Theatre Alibi is full of angels. One sorts out a dispute between two mendacious crows, another swaps a homeless man's bottle of whisky for a magic elixir. The company, which has already gathered a faithful following in the south west, present four enchanting tales with the utmost theatricality.

The stage is set in tasteful simplicity with just two wooden bookshelves on which are placed white boxes containing crucial props and a collection of empty bottles of different shapes and sizes. A couple of adjustable wooden step-ladders complete the set, providing the three resourceful performers with all they need to create a rich variety of locations.

The shelves with the bottles, for example, come into their own when Sammy, sleeping in the doorway of Oddbins, finds to his joy that the back door has been left open. His chosen tipple is whisky, and pretty soon the step- ladders are whirling drunkenly around him like the walls and floor of the place. Two angels watch over his booze-sodden sleep singing beautiful hymns. On an impulse, they give him the elixir, which tastes of roses and makes everything work out all right.

On realising his new power, our man goes to the housing office where, after one swig of the magic juice, the official hands over the keys to a batchelor pad in the centre of town. In the job centre, after the merest sip of the liquid, the officer is offering Sammy a career in banking or an interesting little opening in publishing.

Theatre Alibi's theme is broadly that of un-truth, but that could be said of any piece of fiction. The substance of their work is to reveal deeper, more fragile truths through stories of deception and whimsy. They have the innocent charm of Jacques Tati, the narrative craziness of Flann O'Brien; and their fallible angels, though conventionally winged, owe something to Wim Wenders. The stories are not equally successful, but "A Private Miracle", about an angel and a nun, is a perfect parable about impossible love and human potential. The collaboration between performer Emma Rice, writer Daniel Jamieson (who also perform) and director Nikki Sved is clearly blessed.

n Tour information and bookings: 01392 217315

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