Unfaithful by Owen McCafferty. Review by Julia Pascal.

 

 

 

 

This was my first trip to Emily Dobbs’ pop-up venue Found 111 on the Charing Cross Road.  It is impressive.  I had missed this play at the Edinburgh Festival in 2014 and was pleased at the chance of catching it.  I was not disappointed.

MCafferty’s drama is a raw exposé of marriage, relationships, fidelity and love.  This text cuts through to the bone of how we cheat, are cheated on, lie and love.  It starts in the middle of a row between husband and wife and traces their mid-life crisis but it also suggests how we all crave le grand amour and how this is a fantasy that no individual can fulfil.  McCafferty’s brilliant play reveals how we are all doomed to be unlucky in love.

The main couple Joan and Tom are supported by the younger Peter and Tara as their sexual partners.  Within this imaginative production by Adam Penford, McCafferty’s sharp dialogue is given a clarity in production that makes each word like a bullet.

Casting is strong.  Sean Campion, Niamh Cusack, Ruta Gedmintas and Matthew Lewis inhabit their roles to such a degree that it would appear that they have written their own dialogue and such is their immersion in the writing that the 75 minutes passes in a flash.

Richard Kent’s spare design offers a clever revelation to the text, James Whiteside’s lighting designs are beautifully unfussy.  Joan Hughes’ costume designs are extremely well judged.

The play is not just about marriage, jealousy and infidelity but about work, low pay, low aspiration, women’s education and class as well as evoking moments of existentialist philosophy.  It works on a simple and a complex level and this is why it is a triumph.

Julia Pascal © 2016.

Unfaithful 4 Niamh Cusack Matthew Lewis Photo Marc Brenner

Unfaithful 4 Niamh Cusack Matthew Lewis Photo Marc Brenner

Unfaithful 1 Sean Campion Niamh Cusack Ruta Gedmintas Matthew Lewis Photo Marc Brenner 2

Unfaithful 1 Sean Campion Niamh Cusack Ruta Gedmintas Matthew Lewis Photo Marc Brenner 2