greta titelman review

Greta Titelman: Exquisite Lies review | New favourite sociopath

★★★★★ Greta Titelman makes her debut at the Edinburgh Fringe with Exquisite Lies, an exceptionally funny hour of sociopathic story and song.


In the life story that Greta Titelman lays out as her own, it’s never quite clear where the truth ends and the lies begin. Only she will know, as is the point, but you can’t help but wonder: did she actually do that? 

Such is the brilliance of Titelman’s Exquisite Lies, while the morally reprehensible actions make you physically uncomfortable, you almost rate her for them. The character is so brazen, so narcissistic, so utterly unhinged that you cannot help but admire the facade of sanity she’s maintained. 

It’s also not like this Titelman character is physically hurting anyone. Emotionally, perhaps, and definitely celebrating in others’ pain, but it’s only in her endless amibition to be abnormal and for the rest of world to revolve around her. She takes it to extreme levels, but there’s enough universal truth to unbridled self-obsession that it doesn’t feel completely contrived. 

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Titelman plays the wealthy, pretty, American blonde stereotype perfectly. Instead of masking it with the cluelessness of, well, Clueless, Titelman’s character has an unnerving self-awareness. The sociopathic tendencies are not only present, they’re carefully considered. This character is methodical and deliberate in her dishonesty. Again, you rate her for it.

The storytelling is done through a combination of songs and good, old-fashioned spoken word. Titelman is sharp in both mediums, the story moving along briskly while leaving room for specific, incredibly amusing little details that make it more believable. The songs often lend themselves to Exquisite Lies’ funniest moments (making the crowd chant enthusiastically about a lack of consent maybe the funniest of the lot). They’re also helped by the fact Tietlaman can actually sing. Comedians singing out of tune is not that funny. The vast majority of people can do that. Comedians singing in tune, on the other hand…

As Exquisite Lies continues, the stories get more and more extreme. Titelman moves into the world of the 2000s with Blackberry phones, more sex and more drugs. There’s almost something nostalgic about it, like a real world version of the girl in American Beauty, except this one not only spouts the “there’s nothing worse in life than being ordinary” line, but really commits to it.

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