Faithfulness. What does it truly mean? It’s a complex and misunderstood subject that Emily Dobbs’ new play Unfaithful tries to tackle head on.
Tom [Sean Campion] is alone in a hotel bar simply looking to get a drink, to wash away the plaster in his throat from a hard day’s plumbing. Tara [Ruta Gedmintas] however has other ideas. After copious amounts of flirting in the hotel bar, Tara offers him a fuck — in a doorway. This changes everything.
After hearing about the infidelity and in an apparent bid for revenge Joan [Niamh Cusack] checks into the very same hotel and hires an escort – Peter [Matthew Lewis]. An apparently simple business deal turns into a pretty dark scene of verbal abuse and desperation with Joan venting 30 years of frustration at Peter.
Owen McAfferty’s writing turns the whole “traditional” idea of being unfaithful on it’s head. The character’s reactions to this news is more about manly pride and communication as opposed to betrayal. After all, Tom and Joan have been married for 30 years and think they’ve seen everything together. That is until Joan learns that Tom has been unfaithful.
Campion and Cusack gave an absolute masterclass here in acting with their strong performances, commanding the attention of every eye in the house. While a somewhat lacklustre script let Lewis and Gedmintas down, their performances were equally as strong. Though at times it felt like they were only there to fuel the fire between Cusack and Campion, their own storyline seemed somewhat neglected.
In Found111’s small space the piece feels so much more intimate; and there are times where this can be uncomfortable. Campion giving rather vivid details of how his infidelity happened and a rather wide-eyed Cusack asking Lewis to “fuck me in the ass” can at times feel overbearing in such a small setting. Though Richard Kent’s design of the stage is magnificently minimalistic, the use of mirrors being a wondrous addition and adding a complete new dimension to the piece.
With a flurry of magnificent acting alongside a pretty dark and comedic script, Unfaithful is a play you need to see. While not necessarily suitable for a younger age or those with a faint heart, the intimate space brings this play to life and gives it an uncomfortable feel that makes the piece totally its own.