True story of lies told on stage

The Jackson family – daughter Julie (played by Lara Simpson), wife Barbara (Fiona Forster) and husband Bob (Chris Juckes) being interviewed by MI5 officer Mr Stewart (Andrew Brown) in Pack of Lies.

IT’S often said that truth is stranger than fiction – and the latest show from Wanneroo’s Limelight Theatre is a prime example.

Written by Hugh Whitemore and directed by Gordon Park, Pack of Lies is based on the true story surrounding the most significant spy operation in 1960s London in the middle of the Cold War, dubbed “The Portland Spy Ring”.

The plot centres on middle-aged couple Bob and Barbara Jackson and their teenage daughter Julie, who are friendly with their neighbours Peter and Helen Kroger.

All is blissful in their world until a mysterious stranger from MI5 arrives and asks to use the Jacksons’ house as an observation station to try and foil a Soviet spy ring operating in the area.

The play follows the various events, lies and betrayal that take place in the months leading up to the Krogers being arrested and charged with espionage in 1961.

Pack of Lies was first performed in 1983, starring Judi Dench, who won a best actress Laurence Olivier Award for her role.

“Each character in the production plays a key role as the story unfolds, which presents a wonderful challenge to for the actors involved,” Mr Park, who also appears in the show, said.

“The show is made up of numerous scenes depicting places in time, so the challenge as a director comes from bringing a smooth continuity to the scenes in question as the story builds to its climax.”

Involved in theatre for the past 30 years, Mr Park came to WA in 1988 and has performed in a plethora of productions with Limelight, Playlovers, Stirling, Harbour, Old Mill, Rockingham and Marloo Theatres.

Most recently, he appeared in Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.

“I have directed Pack of Lies once before and have always found it so intriguing because it’s based on actual events.

“It is, without doubt, one of my favourite plays.”

Pack of Lies plays at Limelight Theatre at 8pm on September 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, 29, 30 and October 1 with a 2pm matinee on September 25.