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A CurtainUp London Review
"Because she was there." — Tom
Matthew Lewis as Peter (Photo: Marc Brenner)
Is fidelity a generational thing of importance or not? In Owen McCafferty's Unfaithful a middle aged, long married couple grapple with the discussion as to whether one of them has committed adultery. Contrast: another couple, a whole generation younger, discuss the contacts the man, Peter (Matthew Lewis), makes as he works for an escort agency where he will have sex with men or women as the well paid job demands.

In the opening scene an animated Joan (Niamh Cusack) (so much her magnificent actor father's daughter) will verbally lash out at her embarrassed plumber husband Tom (Sean Campion), who confesses to having been hit upon by a younger woman. He is exceptionally reticent, or is he embarrassed? He describes this sexual gift woman as in her thirties, whereas we would say when we later meet her, definitely twenties. He obviously felt it made a difference. There is then a very sexually explicit description of sex in a shop doorway. He tells his wife it is nothing to do with her. Do not take young Harry Potter fans to see Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) in this play lest you destroy their innocence.

In the explosive scene that follows Tom's revelation, school meal supervisor Joan achingly asks, "Why didn't you do it with me?". She feels not so much "cheated on" but "cheated of" the sexual excitement. Their argument is funny and painful at the same time. Somehow the infidelity has broken an unwritten peace pact and Joan in anger gives herself permission to complain about everything that irritates her about Tom, including his habit of picking his ears. When Joan asks why he didn't phone her and tell her about it beforehand, they rehearse how that phone conversation might have gone had it happened. Tom is often left at a loss for words.

Returning to Tom's chance meeting with long legged Tara (Ruta Gedmintas) in a hotel bar, with folk music playing in the background, the older man looks nervous as she propositions him. The connections complete when Joan chances on the agency Peter works for, to have revenge sex with someone other than Tom. "We are still ourselves when we lie, " says Joan.

When Peter and Tara meet up after Peter's night shift has ended, Tara complains that they always have take away for breakfast but Peter explains it's like supper time for him. Curry for breakfast is funny. The two mature members of the cast steal the acting honours and although Matthew Lewis is believable, I never quite felt that self conscious Ruta Gedmintas convinced in what she was saying but hers is the more ambivalent and therefore difficult role.

The set is one large bed and I recommend sitting near the air conditioning unit in this London heatwave. All actors are onstage continuously watching the play when not involved in playing a scene.

Owen McCafferty's play leaves plenty of room for discussion and reflection even if it doesn't quite follow the lofty expectations of previous productions at Found 111: the brilliant Dazzle and the paranoia making Bug.

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Written by Owen McCafferty
Directed by Adam Penford
Starring: Niamh Cusack, Sean Campion, Ruta Gedmintas, Matthew Lewis
Designed by Richard Kent
Composer and Sound Design: Edward Lewis
Lighting Design: James Whiteside
Running time: 75 minutes without an interval
Box Office: Online via Soho Theatre website
Booking to 8th October 2016
Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge based on 31st August 2016 performance at Found 111, 111 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0DT (Tube: Tottenham Court Road/Leicester Square)
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