A reviews round-up for Unfaithful at Found 111
Sean Campion, Niamh Cusack, Ruta Gedmintas and Matthew Lewis star in the London premiere of award-winning playwright Owen McCafferty’s Unfaithful.
Directed by Adam Penford, Unfaithful is a “provocative hard-hitting drama” about infidelity, disappointment and the bitterness of an unfulfilled life.
Unfaithful will runs until 8 October 2016 at Found111.
Here’s a round-up of what the critics had to say about Unfaithful.
Average Critics Rating
★★★“Hard-hitting production of Owen McCafferty's provocative adultery drama” “A few judicious tweaks and excellent performances from unstoppable force Cusack and immovable object Campion probably put this a step up on the original production: more focussed and tense, a bit less funny but surer of what sort of play it would like to be." “There are points when you worry McCafferty is dancing awfully close to a line marked ‘misogyny’ but he succeeds in wrongfooting you often enough for a play that turns out to be less about adultery, more about what it takes to hold on to a sense of self within a lifelong relationship.” “McCafferty is a great Irish playwright, underperformed in London, and ‘Unfaithful’ is worth an evening’s tryst.” Andrzej Lukowski, Time Out
★★★“Niamh Cusack and Matthew Lewis are part of a quartet of characters whose unfulfilled lives throw them together in Owen McCafferty’s play about infidelity” “I found one pair totally believable and the other wholly incredible.” “It is the young couple who pose the play’s problem. Peter may fabulate to please his clients, but it was never clear to me what had actually driven him into the sex trade. Tara, who relieves the boredom of her life as a supermarket checkout girl by picking up an older man in a hotel bar, strikes me as a middle-aged writer’s fantasy. Either that or I’m going to the wrong bars.” “The play has been re-produced and recast since Edinburgh and is perfectly well done. Director Adam Penford and designer Richard Kent make good use of the bruising intimacy of this pop-up theatre, and the acting is sharp." "Niamh Cusack suggests all the stored-up rage of Joan which she releases in the bedroom games she plays with her hired lover, and Sean Campion catches particularly well Tom’s initial brusqueness when he finds himself solicited over his post-work pint. Matthew Lewis and Ruta Gedmintas have a tougher time making you believe in Peter and Tara, but just about get away with it.” Michael Billington, The Guardian
The Daily Telegraph
★★★“A tangled web of sex, lies and jealousy” “Owen McAfferty’s lean whippet of a play crashes two disjointed relationships into each other and then picks through the wreckage. What McAfferty unearths is an abundance of 21st-century sexual jealousy, frustration and liberation in a smart four-hander that occasionally lets itself down by saying too much.” “It is Cusack’s play. She paces and pounces like a cat. The desperate, bruised attempts to rekindle her sex life are so acutely realised that they are almost difficult to watch. She can throw out the word “f***” like no one else." “Lewis may not always capture the hurt behind Peter’s eyes, he does a fine job convincing us of a young man who has decided he is a cold-blooded, self-made capitalist, not a whore.” “As a study of a marriage that has grown numb with time, and how we might find once again the love that brought two people together in the first place, it is quietly heartbreaking.” “Director Adam Penford has ensured a snappy, peppy production, with the emo-folk music of Johnny Flynn slotting nicely in between each vignette.” Chris Bennion, Daily Telegraph
★★★★“Owen McCafferty takes what could have been a hackneyed scenario – middle-aged marriage rocked by the imputation of infidelity – and gives it a raw contemporary twist” “The intimacy of the space – with the audience seated like eavesdroppers on either side of a sparse set that increasingly gives the impression that the two couples are occupying the same bedroom – is ideally scaled for the drama’s intensity and rueful wit.” “Niamh Cusack brilliantly conveys Joan’s scorching anger and hurt.” “Harry Potter star Matthew Lewis nicely suggests the sense of comic deflation when his character is obliged to admit that, having been a failure at modelling and porn movies, he has only prostitution to thank for rescuing him from the drudgery of a call centre.” Paul Taylor, The Independent
★★“After the umpteenth potty word, I slightly lost the will to invest in the characters.” Patrick Marmion, DailyMail
★★★“McCafferty’s language is simple, but very human and, at its strongest, erupts into searching speeches about the disappointments of ageing and marriage.” “Cusack combines a dominating ferocity, a steely stare in her eyes, and an intense stillness. She captures the quiet, internal tragedy of getting older and losing one’s self confidence. Sean Campion as husband Tom is a match for Cusack, too, as a man emptied of vitality. Anxiety is etched into his permanent frown.” “While Lewis is likeable as male prostitute Peter, there’s something missing from the rhythm of his dialogue: a few too many lines that land heavily, facial expressions that don’t match what he’s saying.” “The play’s structure isn’t up to scratch: the younger couple, Peter and Tara, have far less time together than Tom and Joan, and an abrupt ending hits, just as the themes are hanging thickly in the air.” Tim Bano, The Stage