Taut tales of deception

Deceptions by Paul Wheeler at Colchester Mercury until Saturday June 20.Don't be deceived. The first act of this play lulls you into a false sense of thinking you are not going to like it.

David Henshall

Deceptions by Paul Wheeler, Colchester Mercury until Saturday June 20.

Don't be deceived. The first act of this play lulls you into a false sense of thinking you are not going to like it. The situations are not comfortable and the characters don't really fill you with confidence at this stage.

The conversations between Julia Smythe and Adrian Wainwright seem contrived. She is the psychoanalyst he has come to consult; he is the chap with a problem: he's impotent, so he says. But, at the end of the day, that's not what it's all about.


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It's a story with a great twist in the tail as the pair meet again, and again - not always in her office. He insinuates his way into her life in the most extraordinary fashion and we wonder what he is up to.

On the other hand maybe it's Julia who has something to prove or hide. The story takes us back and forth and we are never quite sure who is telling the truth. In the end we discover that both are adept at spouting lies, or at least at not telling the complete truth.

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I'm not sure that the denouement is quite as successful as it ought to be because, for me, the author signals the answer to the mystery a little too early in the second act. On the other hand it was clear that a lot of people were pleasantly surprised by how things worked out.

The play is a two-hander and quite a tour de force for Michelle Collins who spent ten years in EastEnders and Rupert Hill from Coronation Street and several other soaps. This is the first night of the tour and both are word perfect in parts that are long, involved and full of tricky changes of mood.

I would have chosen different music. It is loud, unintelligible and detracts from what is otherwise a tale that looks as though it might not make it, but that grips tightly in the end.

David Henshall

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