The Lakeside Arts Centre's only in-house production this year, Flapland, is a thoroughly bewildering comedy.
First Man sits in a railway cafe (which is very convincingly recreated on stage) muttering about the man who conned him ten years earlier. Seeing the con-artist across the room, he resolves to confront him. The Second Man is unfazed and explains how, at the time in question, he was many miles away himself being conned by First Man. To avoid this accusation, First Man has to change his story but is pressed into a greater lie to explain himself. He invents a doppelganger who imitates him, a secret and prodigious long-lost twin and a whole other life as he is overtaken by the contradictions.
Eventually, we think we see some truth shining at the end of the tunnel as First Man confesses to having made up the whole story in order to get attention, but Second Man is not content and continues to press him into even more extravagant lies about his life as an influential politician.
As this play was originally written for radio, the dialogue is paramount. However, Matt Aston's direction provides plenty for the eyes, Ian Reddington's nervous ticks and flinches contrast with David MacCreedy's threatening invasion of personal space and a whole other performance is acted out by salt shakers and ketchup bottles. Both actors perform magnificently though Ian Reddington's First Man is the meatier part for which he is more than capable.
By the end of this play, you are left asking 'Who is Who?' and a lot of other questions besides. A cautionary tale about allowing a lie to be followed to its logical consequences and a very entertaining comedy that hasn't dated in the nearly 40 years since it was written.
A Who's Who of Flapland was on at the Lakeside Arts Centre 16- 30 April 2005
More theatre reviews by Adrian