Reviews London TheatreWest End & Central Published 6 September 2016

Review: Unfaithful at Found111

Found111 ⋄ 25 August - 8 October 2016

That’s it? Brendan Macdonald reviews Owen McCafferty’s new play about infidelity at Found111.

Brendan Macdonald
Unfaithful at Found111.

Unfaithful at Found111.

Niamh Cusack opens the show asking a resounding question with a look of incredulity on her face: ‘That’s it?’ Owen McCafferty’s play, aptly named, opens at the moment of infidelity. Joan, played by Cusack, has just been told that her husband Tom (Sean Campion), with whom she shares a daughter, has cheated on her and cheated her of a life.

Unfaithful is a four-hander that charts some of the complexities surrounding infidelity, sex, and authenticity. Joan and Tom’s counterparts, Peter (Harry Potter‘s Matthew Lewis) and Tara (Ruta Gedmintas), are a younger couple whose troubles escalate as Peter’s job as an escort infiltrates their relationship.

While the show’s conceit is too predictable, the performances are seductive. Cusack marries ferocity and vulnerability beautifully, and Campion’s vacant stares often speak better for him than his lines. Lewis is charming and Gedmintas, particularly when wooing, is reckless. As an ensemble, they make the best of what could be myopic and contrived.

Perhaps most intriguingly, McCafferty reflects acts of unfaithfulness to us not merely as transgressions against another, but also as constructions of the self. And that’s just as revealing: that being untruthful can be a form of self-discovery, and that the lies of others can also reveal their truths. ‘We’re still ourselves when we lie’. And so the infidelity can extend not only to acts, or words, or deeds that affect others around us; we can also be unfaithful to ourselves.

Director Adam Penford therefore has the actors never leave the room. When offstage they sit facing the back wall of full-size mirrors, designed by Richard Kent. It’s a simple but effective choice to highlight the strongest moments of McCafferty’s script.

But the unlikely sort of coincidence that structures the narrative belittles some of the more intimate moments. It’s also unnervingly never dealt with, suggesting it as merely an easy writer’s device to tell a story. More frustratingly, the story itself is a questionable one: its resolution feels utterly forced and by the end it meanders to nowhere in particular.

It’s the performances that ultimately save these relationships and the show itself. Without the wide-eyed anger and disbelief of Cusack (and cast), the first line of the play would seem a likely description.

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Brendan Macdonald is a contributor to Exeunt Magazine

Review: Unfaithful at Found111 Show Info


Directed by Adam Penford

Written by Owen McCafferty

Cast includes Sean Campion, Niamh Cusack, Ruta Gedmintas, Matthew Lewis

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