Sunday, September 24

Yours Unfaithfully – Jermyn Street Theatre

The Mint Theatre Company of New York specialises in uncovering forgotten plays that deserve to be remembered.  In Unfaithfully Yours by Miles Malleson they have uncovered a little gem, which was premiered in New York in 2017 and now UK audiences have the chance to enjoy it at the Jermyn Street Theatre.

The play features an outwardly extremely happily married couple, Anne and Stephen Meredith, who secure in the knowledge of the soundness of their relationship are happy for each other to engage in dalliances on the side. However, their intellectual commitment to allowing their partner to do what they like in order to further their happiness is severely tested byte feelings of jealousy which arise.

At the time when it was written 90 years ago this would have undoubtedly been a shocking play flying in the face of the prevailing moral climate; well expressed in the play by the self-righteous Canon, who is also Stephen’s Father. But even in our more liberal climate the questions raised by the play, about the limits to faithfulness within a relationship are as relevant as they ever were. The first act sets the scene and initially seems rather superficial as the relationship between Stephen and Diana develops, but in the second act, after a short pause, to indicate the passage of time the dialogue was really intense and engrossing.  The third act brings affairs to a climax as both parties realise the impact of their behaviour has had on each other, but at the end the future of the relationship is left unresolved.

The cast were very strong. Laura Doddington as Anne Meredith gave an outstanding performance as the outwardly understanding wife who wanted her husband to pursue his dalliance in order that he should become happier and return to his work but found to her enormous surprise that this was something with which, emotionally, she could not cope.  Guy Lewis was a good foil as her husband, who initially was too shortsighted to appreciate what the impact of his new relationship might be, but devastated when he realised the impact that it had on his wife.   Kaisha Atwell’s   performance as Diana Streatfield, the “other woman”, was rather too affected in comparison with the naturalistic performance of the others in the cast.  They were well supported by their doctor friend, and ex-lover of Anne, lan Kirby, played by Dominic Marsh and by Tony Timberlake as Canon Gordon.

The small playing area of the Jermyn Street Theatre had been dressed to create a very attractive living room of the Meredith’s country house and impressively transformed, by the backstage team during the interval into the Meredith’s London pied-à-terre.

This is a very well written play with strong performances and presentation, and well deserves to be rescued from anonymity.

Until 1st July 2023,

Reviewer: Paul Ackroyd

Reviewed: 6th June 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.