Liars at a Funeral

Family Secrets, Old Grudges, Sibling Rivalry and Grandma

Reviewed by Deb Lord

Every family has a bit of dysfunction which needs to be shaken out of their family tree!

Sibling rivalry, curses, grudges, old and new secrets turn a funeral into a hilarious day at Blyth Festival’s Liars at a Funeral. The play was written by Sophia Fabiilli and directed by Krista Jackson.

“This play was originally slated to open our 2020 season, so finally bringing Liars at a Funeral to the stage is a dream come true,” said Gil Garratt, Blyth’s Artistic Director. This first play of the 2023 season is on stage until July 8.

Liars at Funeral is a hilarious story of Mavis (Nora McLellan), a grandmother who fakes her own death in a last-ditch hope to get her dysfunctional family in one room, this time with fruit trays and obituary cards.

Full of classic farce gags (Who’s in the casket? Who’s in the closet?), the play builds to a hysterically funny pitch with an unexpected revelation that brings the family together again… well sort of… mostly.

The play presents lots of laughs with the revolving door of double-casted roles. Sometimes it is distracting with the lack of the entire cast on stage together but to be honest, it took me awhile to realize the cast members are playing double roles. Each character is very different, which shows the expertise of these actors.

Justin Otto is hilarious as Quint and Cam, the former, a daft, quiet funeral employee who is in on the fake funeral ruse from the beginning and the latter as a genuine, outgoing, caring ‘life partner’.

All of the actors give comedic but also inspirational performances. Each actor changes their persona from the beginning of the show, which endears the audience to them.

The two best scenes in the play show the change in character of the actors. In one, a very drunk Wayne mistakes Evelyn for his deceased wife Sheila. Blair Williams and Amy Rutherford play this scene beautifully as Wayne asks for forgiveness and Evelyn, taking advantage of Wayne’s mistake, allows herself to forgive him. The other lovely scene is the reconciliation between DeeDee and Mia, played by Lucy Hill.

The moral of this play is to not wait until a funeral to share your feelings or to offer forgiveness to family members!

As Mavis said to her family “look death in the eye and grab life by the balls.”

‘Liars at a Funeral’ continues until July 8 at the Blyth Hall (Memorial Hall), 423 Queen St., Blyth. All performances, with the exception of opening night, start at 2pm, and are fully air-conditioned for your comfort. Tickets are available by calling the Box Office at 1-877-862-5984 or by visiting https://blythfestival.com

Photo: Left to right: Justin Otto, Nora McLellan, Blair Williams, Lucy Hill. Photo by Terry Manzo

Liars at a Funeral
By Sophia Fabiilli
Directed by Krista Jackson
Performed by Nora McLellan, Justin Otto, Blair Williams, Amy Rutherford, Lucy Hill
Memorial Hall, Blyth Festival, Blyth
June 14 to July 8, 2023
Reviewed by Deb Lord

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