‘Perfect Liar’s Club’ at the Capital Fringe Festival is storytelling at its finest — honest


Capital Fringe Festival’s “Perfect Liars Club” cast members get physical while trying to prove a story. (Perfect Liars Club)

Storytelling, one of the oldest forms of entertainment, is as popular as ever. In addition to SpeakeasyDC, which offers classes and hosts events, and competitions put on by Story League, “Perfect Liar’s Club” has become a cult hit with performances that sell out in minutes. The once-a-month show at Dupont Circle bar Science Club features four storytellers, three of whom are regaling the audience with true tales, while one is spinning a total fabrication. For the first time, “Perfect Liars Club” is taking part in Capital Fringe Festival, and the result is predictably delightful.

During its four-performance run at Fringe, the show will feature different stories (though some of the same storytellers will return with new tales), so this review reflects only the performance Thursday night at Goethe-Institut. During that show, Cara Foran told of a dangerous trip to the Serengeti; Pedro Alcocer discussed a robbery in Rio; Kevin Boggs reminisced about a rock concert that changed his life; and Pierce McManus took us back to his prom night in the late ’80s.

After the four told their stories, host and charming “Club” mastermind Layla McCay gave the audience a few minutes to talk amongst themselves, after which we were able to interrogate the storytellers. Isn’t Boggs a little young to have been to an Elvis concert? And why were people fighting in a parking lot after McManus’s prom? (The answers were: no and because the high schoolers were drunk.) Following another brief stint of conversation, the audience then votes on who was the liar. In a town known for its casual relationship with the truth, you’d think we’d be better at spotting a fib. I’m sad to say that the person with the least votes ended up being the one most worthy of our suspicions. (Those who voted correctly, though, won a prize courtesy of Capital Bikeshare.)

As far as the stories went, some were more polished than others. Boggs is one of this town’s most consistently impressive storytellers, and he didn’t disappoint. Others were exceptionally good off-the-cuff during the question-and-answer session, especially Foran. The interrogation did drag on longer than necessary, however.

But “Perfect Liars Club” is a worthwhile evening of entertainment, especially among Fringe productions that can so often be a crapshoot. The show is also a sign that the appeal of storytelling is hardly waning. Even with a much larger space than it has at Science Club, “Perfect Liars Club” played to a sold-out crowd.

Perfect Liars Club

6:30 p.m. Sunday, 10 p.m. July 19, 7:15 p.m. July 20. Goethe-Institut, 812 7th St. NW. 866-811-4111. www.capitalfringe.org. $17 plus the one-time purchase of a $7 button.

Washington-area native Stephanie Merry covers movies, theater and art for Weekend and the Going Out Guide. She’s also the section’s de facto expert on yoga, gluten-free dining and bicycle commuting.
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