Mint Theater Company presents the very belated world premiere of Miles Malleson's 1933 "un-romantic comedy" about life in an open marriage, and the price of free love. More…
Stephen and Anne, blissfully happy for eight years, are committed to living up to their ideals. When Stephen, a writer who isn’t writing, begins to sink into a funk of unproductive moodiness, Anne encourages him to seek out a fresh spark. Can their marriage survive uncompromising generosity, sacrifice, and love? 'Yours Unfaithfully' was published in 1933 but never produced...until now.
"A delightful look at marriage and fidelity...Bank's staging is delectable as he keeps this drawing-room comedy moving at a clip. The cast is exquisite with just the right amount of everything...Malleson has a way with words and his outlook on sex, infidelity and open marriage is just as relevant today...In a time when the world seems out of control, it was nice to be captivated and slip into another time and place. Make sure you catch this sublime endeavor." Full Review
"'Yours Unfaithfully' is a definite find…What happens as the final curtain approaches in Malleson’s acerbic comedy will not be revealed, but it’s absolutely perfect...If Malleson wasn’t the exactly right man for his time, he may still be a man for 2017. He’s astute at understanding the complications that arise when men and women blithely place themselves above bourgeois attitudes…To bring this portrait of an alternate design for living to pungent life, Bank couldn’t have found a better cast." Full Review
“Malleson’s delicious, cryptic work was light years ahead of its time, and this sumptuously crafted production is a treasure...Malleson’s characterization of Anne is profound…'Yours Unfaithfully' is a marvelous production exquisite in its dramatic spectacle and in the cast’s acute, humorous performances. This is a must-see for its subtleties of wit and humor, its sometimes brilliant dialogue, its fine recreation of setting, and its intriguing character portrayals.” Full Review
"'Yours Unfaithfully' was written in 1933 but never produced, so we salute Jonathan Bank for staging the world premiere of this absolutely delightful comedy...Malleson’s ear for the language of the upper midle class in England is impeccable...This is exactly the sort of play that Jonathan Bank and his colleagues at the Mint are mandated to do. I’ve seen many of them, and this particular one is to me the jewel in its crown." Full Review
"I never thought that a previously unproduced play written the year I was born by someone whose name I’d never heard would still be so emotionally and intellectually riveting and relevant four score and four years later, but Miles Malleson’s 'Yours Unfaithfully' easily accomplishes that feat and more…It is a truthful, funny and touching play–a complex play about complex characters with great opposing facial and body language under Jonathan Bank’s subtle but clear direction." Full Review
"A refined, rueful and often shrewd comedy about polyamory, written decades before open relationships were quite so openly discussed...Under the polished direction of Bank, its arguments remain provocative, while its structure feels familiar, its tone decorous...It is often very funny; it is also very nearly a tragedy...What is extraordinary about Malleson is his ability to create characters who are capable of feeling several things at once, or who don’t really know what they’re feeling at all." Full Review
"The staging by director Jonathan Bank and the acting by the cast of five convey an air of sophistication to the plot and discourse...The intelligent conversation written by Malleson is perfectly captured as the cast members do justice to it under Bank’s direction that highlights the outward sincerity but underlying angst. Banks and his cast play it straight, not reaching for laughs, but letting the seriousness itself communicate amusement at the complications created." Full Review
"The play is more sex positive and forward thinking than anything to come out in the last decade...Even if 'Yours Unfaithfully' isn’t 'contributing' anything new to the form, or saying anything 'important,' its very existence is a political statement that proclaims only we should be allowed to decide what to do with our bodies and how to fulfill our pleasure...The Mint Theater company has put together a remarkable production anchored by Gray and Von Essen." Full Review
"Beautifully well written, thoughtful, intelligent play...The play is bracingly modern in its content and focus...The absence of full-on Brit accents was a disappointment to this audience member. Otherwise, this production is eminently satisfying in terms of Jonathan Bank's direction...All of the casting and performances are spot-on with the exception of Schnetzer, who seems a little too young, too easygoing, and yes, way too American." Full Review
"I won't say that 'Yours Unfaithfully' is the most consequential work that the Mint has unearthed from its vault of lost works—it is little too earnest, perhaps, its ironies a little too carefully polished—but there are many compensations in the author's unfailing elegance of expression…Under the super-smooth direction of Jonathan Bank, a quintet of actors, all equipped with a fine grasp of period style, make the most of Malleson's astringent portrait of an open marriage." Full Review
“A gracefully done world premiere. Elisabeth Gray is elegantly alluring as Anne…Jonathan Bank's direction leans towards the darker side of Anne and Stephen's marital issues. There's a good deal of humor and wit throughout the evening, for sure, but Bank seems to be downplaying frivolity in favor of the emotions that may have inspired Malleson to write the play…This isn't a flaw, but rather an interesting turn in a finely acted production of an intriguing play." Full Review
"Though open marriage continues to have its yea and naysayers, it's all a tad passé given the many current departures from traditional man-woman monogamous relationships. Nevertheless it does all add up to an engaging two hours thanks to the often witty dialogue and the generally fine performances Mr. Bank has elicited from the actors...By introducing us to Miles Malleson with this never produced play, Jonathan Bank proves the validity of that old saw 'better late than never.'" Full Review
"For all its 'shocking' stance, 'Yours Unfaithfully' is a fairly conventional play...The introduction of a conventional moral compass is actually the new concept that the playwright brings in as he tweaks the amoral social comedy employed by Wilde and Shaw...It doesn't entirely leave the realm of the lightweight, but it adds some gravitas to the proceedings...The acting, under Bank's direction, is of the high quality we've come to expect from the Mint...Another winner for the Mint." Full Review
"This never produced 1933 play is extremely well written, psychologically astute, often wry and–despite what initially appears preposterous–in context, rather credible. Playwright Miles Malleson had a terrific feel for represented class and period…Lightly presenting a provocative premise, the piece is entertaining and well mounted...Director Jonathan Bank keeps the three act piece humming along, allowing for awkward pauses with finesse." Full Review
"Surprisingly contemporary for a play written more than 80 years ago, and this production is totally engaging…A series of beautifully orchestrated silent scenes speak just as loudly as Malleson's well-crafted dialogue. It's all executed by an excellent cast…Not everything works...There's far too much talk about cricket...Theatergoers who like tidy endings may balk at Malleson's ambiguous one. But those of a more open-minded disposition will find it gives them a lot to think about." Full Review
"I really enjoyed ‘Yours Unfaithfully,’ so much so that I almost truly loved it. When a play is well-written, a great deal of the work that confronts an ensemble is already done…Malleson’s script advances the story well and with wit, but only after a rather lengthy exposition scene...I heard words that indicated all these characters have quite a bit of affection for one another, but I would have gladly indulged reasons why expressed in stolen non-verbal queues such as lingering looks." Full Review
"Given the witty dialogue and entertaining explorations of marriage, it’s surprising the play has never been produced...The performances are superb. Max von Essen is splendid as Stephen...The graceful Elisabeth Gray’s acting and facial expressions are particularly exquisite, trying to sort out her wavering emotions...There is no apparent reason to have two intermissions...While this may have made the evening longer than necessary, it was still a good night in the theatre." Full Review
"A charming and disarming comedy/drama...The brilliantly deft production of 'Yours Unfaithfully' is a welcome addition to the Mint archive. As is customary in a Mint production, sets and costumes have a panache as well. The scenic and costume design are admirable. The top-notch ensemble brings Malleson’s smart vision to life with an easy flair. It’s a tribute to all involved that one can’t peg 'Yours Unfaithfully' as drama, or drawing-room comedy; it stands on its own." Full Review
"It examines with intelligence and sensitivity, but few emotional fireworks, the ramifications of the once scandalous idea of open marriage...The script's appealing promise dissipates into talky artificiality, largely, I believe, because of its otherwise capable actors being out of their depth; instead of true Malleson we get faux-Coward. Malleson's play should only receive another staging if it can find a cast...that can carry off its English savoir-faire and, most particularly, its accents." Full Review
"One problem is that the play (unlike Noel Coward's 'Design for Living' or Somerset Maugham's 'The Constant Wife' which cover similar territory) is neither witty not clever, and none of the lines are particularly sparkling or original. While the play may delineate liberated sexual behavior, its drawing room comedy format is too conventional and refined. All five performers always seem to be acting as their style is too arch to be truly believable." Full Review
"Max von Essen and Elisabeth Gray do an admirable job portraying the seesaw emotions of the convention-bending pair, but Malleson's uneven script makes us wait until the final act for a dramatic payoff...The earnest plot, unfortunately, begs for a more comedic treatment. Director Jonathan Bank squeezes in a few chuckles now and then, but this is far from the smart comedy it could have been...Still, 'Yours Unfaithfully' offers keen insights into the destructiveness of jealousy." Full Review
"Malleson’s bio suggests a life story considerably more colorful than the tidy marital drama that unfolds onstage...The script offers a scrupulous examination of two warring impulses: the urge to explore versus the instinct to nurture and protect. Happily, we’re spared the wink-wink prompts of farce, though Malleson does allude to an extremely vulgar adage of the day, sanitized here as 'Fresh kiss, fresh courage.' If only he had applied that tenet to his rather dry disquisition." Full Review
“A mildly diverting play…The first act drags on with verbose dialogue that attempts to be be witty…The mannered performances seem overly stiff and unnatural…The Third Act takes place in a room, out of town…Mr. von Essen and Ms. Gray have been transformed…The performance style is more relaxed and organic...Gone is the overly arch, clipped stiffness of the earlier scenes. These two are now fully formed creatures, with a newly seen gravitas that was sorely lacking earlier in the evening.” Full Review
"Malleson starts a little too in media res for my taste...For me, this leaves too many questions unanswered...It's too bad, too, because much of the play is fascinating...It doesn't help that Max von Essen, an actor I usually enjoy, fails to fully inhabit Stephen...The main redeeming feature of the production is Elisabeth Gray's completely believable, subtle, and smart performance as Anne...I guess some of the weak acting must be the fault of director Jonathan Bank." Full Review
"Director Jonathan Bank has staged this production with great skill and subtlety...The fault lies in the writing...Miles Malleson may have been ahead of his times in tackling the ins and outs of marital infidelity, but he approached the topic with a kind of Shavian high-mindedness that renders the whole thing rather dull and improbable. It is a very talky play, as were George Bernard Shaw’s, but without Shaw’s wit and spark of subversion." Full Review
See it if you enjoy intelligent and well written plays about the challenges couples face in maintaining a loving marriage.
Don't see it if you are not interested in the various manifestations of love, jealousy and the need to be oneself.
See it if You enjoy period pieces that are beautifully acted, written and staged.
Don't see it if You don't like plays dealing with adultery or you only like shows based in the modern day.
See it if You like intelligent writing, good acting and beautiful sets and costumes.
Don't see it if You like shows that are fast-paced and have closure at the end.
See it if You like good dialogue about relationships. Loved costumes and acting. Relationships are fascinating. Open marriages are not easy.
Don't see it if You don't like British humor or privileged society.
See it if you enjoy rarely seen plays from early-mid 20th century, curious about how older play would cover "open marriage," like intimate setting
Don't see it if older plays are not your cup of tea, you don't like thoughtful comedies or plays in which women learn to express themselves
See it if You enjoy Mint Theater productions. Always well done-great sets-interesting forgotten plays. Max Von Essen a treasure. Wonderful twist end.
Don't see it if You want today's language. If you want plays about kids on the edges of society this week s not that.
See it if Interested in the topic of jealousy and romantic love. It reminded me of a Wallace Shawn play -- lots of conversation about a topic.
Don't see it if Topic not for children. And they would find it baffling and boring anyway!
See it if You enjoy an old fashioned 3 act play that is relevant and satisfying, and will leave you with something to discuss.
Don't see it if You like action more than dialogue.
See it if You would like to see the pros and cons of an open marriage demonstrated in a play. Your enjoy period clothing. This is set in 1933.
Don't see it if Your offended by open relationships. You get confused when you hear references to cricket and don't understand it.
See it if you appreciate discovering (via the Mint) decades old plays that can be astonishingly relevant
Don't see it if a play that doesn't label any character as '"guilty" disturbs you - but then why are you going to the theater at all?
See it if you'd enjoy an interesting premise - the search for happiness in open infidelity - examining the disconnect between our logic & emotions.
Don't see it if you'd be dissatisfied with a predictable destination for a journey that's not as satisfying in its trajectory as it could have been.
See it if you enjoy plays about complex emotions within relationship (jealousy, love, communication, etc). It has some great emotional moments.
Don't see it if you want something fast-paced or edgy by today's standards. It centers around the emotions, rather than actions, of the characters.
See it if you enjoy drawing room sort-of-comedy. Good acting and old-fashioned situations.
Don't see it if You like quick, witty comedy. It is sort of slow and certainly not Noel Coward. But all in all an OK evening.
See it if you are interested in the pros and cons of an open marriage.
Don't see it if you want a play with a lot of energy. This one is mostly people involved in an open marriage calmly discussing their feelings.
See it if you are interested in the concept of open marriage. Not terrible but not compelling either.
Don't see it if you are not interested in the relationships of the English upper middle class.
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