INTERVIEW: Spotlight On… Pack of Lies’ Chris Larkin

In Features, Interviews, London theatre, Plays, Quotes by Emma ClarendonLeave a Comment

Love London Love Culture’s Emma Clarendon spoke to Chris Larkin about starring in Pack of Lies at the Menier Chocolate Factory. 

Hi Chris, thanks so much for talking to me. Could you tell me a bit more about the story behind Pack of Lies?
As you may or may not know Pack of Lies is based around the real-life events that took place in West Ruislip when the Portland spy ring was exposed in January 1961. How a very normal and unassuming suburban family became embroiled in the most important spy ring in British history. The play itself, within this story, explores the theme of lying and betrayal and the larger impact these things have on oneself and others. How much impact a lie can have and what to does to the person telling and the person receiving that lie.

The story is based on true life events – did you do any background research into the original story to gain more insight?
We have all done research in our own way. Mine was primarily into what life was like in West Ruislip in 1960. Google maps is brilliant. The houses and street are still there for all to see. I even went there to look at the street where the two houses are. We also had Gay Search come to speak to us. Gay was the actual daughter of the character I play, Bob. It was incredibly useful to hear her thoughts. Hugh Whitemore had interviewed her extensively when he wrote the original piece. We have also been looking into the larger subject matters such as spying, MI5, the KGB and the Cohens/Krogers.

What stood out to you when you first read Pack of Lies?
The themes as I mentioned earlier are really to do with the impact of lying and lies. How they build up. How people lie to each other and the effect that has. How lying can make some people physically ill, while others can do it with consulate ease. That is what makes Hugh’s play so fascinating. It isn’t the narrative. It is the impact those lies have.

Could you tell me a bit more about your character Bob?
Bob is Barbara ’s husband. A very normal unassuming man who is an aircraft engineer. Quiet and unassuming at the start of this story. Happy and content. The events of the play destroy everything he holds dear and true. His world is turned upside down, never to be put right again.

What stood out for you when you first read Pack of Lies? The themes as I mentioned earlier is really to do with the impact of lying and lies. How they build up. How people lie to each other and the effect that has. How lying can make some people physically ill, while others can do it with consulate ease. That is what make Hugh’s play so fascinating. It isn’t the narrative. It is the impact those lies have.

It seems appropriate to revive Pack of Lies given everything going on in the news. What can audiences take away from the situation the characters find themselves in? I think everyone in the audience will relate with Bob and Barbara dilemma. Given the current levels of espionage in this country right now. The events in Salisbury have brought home just how dangerous and how much both the Russian and British secret services are operating right now.

By Emma Clarendon 

Pack of Lies plays at the Menier Chocolate Factory until the 17th November. For more information visit: https://www.menierchocolatefactory.com/Online/default.asp

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Emma Clarendon
Emma Clarendon studied drama through A-Level before deciding she was much better suited to writing about theatre than appearing onstage. She’s written for a number of online publications ever since, including The News Hub and Art Info. Emma set up her own blog, Love London Love Culture, in April 2015 and tweets at LoveLDNLoveCul.
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Emma Clarendon on FacebookEmma Clarendon on InstagramEmma Clarendon on RssEmma Clarendon on Twitter
Emma Clarendon
Emma Clarendon studied drama through A-Level before deciding she was much better suited to writing about theatre than appearing onstage. She’s written for a number of online publications ever since, including The News Hub and Art Info. Emma set up her own blog, Love London Love Culture, in April 2015 and tweets at LoveLDNLoveCul.

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