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THE CONSTANT WIFE Irish Classical Theatre Company
By
Feb 2, 2018, 14:49
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Through February 11
THE CONSTANT WIFE The Andrews Theatre/Irish Classical Theatre Company

Marriages and relationships are strange and funny, each needing a different kind of handling on both sides.
W. Somerset Maughamís ďThe Constant WifeĒ is approaching a century on the page and on the stage while working well in this time.
Itís about relationships, licit and illicit, and people who like the rules which benefit them and donít like those rules which donít benefit them.
Dr. John Middleton (Eric Michael Rawski) is at the peak of the British medical profession as a consultant on Londonís Harley Street, living the good life with wife Constance (Kate LoConti).
Thereís only one problem, the good doctor is having a fling with his wifeís married best friend, Marie-Louise Durham (Kelsey Mogensen), and Constance is being protected from word of the affair by her mother, Mrs. Culver (Josephine Hogan), her sister Martha Culver (Kristin Bentley) and Marie-Louise.
All well and good for the time and the place.
Maybe also for our time.
Whatís different here is Constanceís reaction, even as she covers for the affair when Marie-Louiseís husband, Mortimer (Elliot Fox) confronts everyone about the affair.
She knew and chose not to do anything, even with the empty-headed Marie-Louise, who is still welcomed in her home.
Instead, she takes up the offer from Barbara Fawcett (Kristin Tripp Kelley) to become a partner in her decorating firm.
She also renews a friendship with Bernard Kersal (Jon May) who once wanted to marry her and has since moved to Asia as a banker who doesnít get home very often.
Now, heís around Britain for a year before heading back.
They are friendly, but not fooling around.
After a year, Constance has had a great year financially and John seems available to fool around, although not with Marie-Louise (who has something else going on).
He figures nothing is changing until he learns not only is Constance heading off for six-weeks in Italy, but Bernard will be with her.
The good doctor canít figure out how his wife can behave just as he did.
Itís not done.
This was a time before The Pill when it was a whole lot easier for the husband to cheat than for the wife, although there was also the risk of social diseases before penicillin.
One of the most fascinating aspects of this show was the difference in reactions between males and females in the audience, with the women seeming more approving of what happens.
Director David Oliver has long ties to British theater and has a real knack for these stories.
He has a strong cast for this show and a number of particularly strong performances, especially LoConti and Rawski.
I donít think many read Maugham today, as a fading Dead White Male.
He still has something to say in the age of #MeToo and this shows why.
Times change and loop backward and thatís why ďThe Constant WifeĒ needs to be on your: See It list.

A.W.

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