I recently took in the world premiere of Yours Unfaithfully, by Miles Malleson, playing at The Beckett Theatre on 42nd Street. Presented by The Mint Theater Company, Yours Unfaithfully stars Todd Cerveris, Elisabeth Gray, Mikaela Izquierdo, Stephen Schnetzer, and Tony nominee Max von Essen (in his play debut), Yours Unfaithfully takes a look at the life of a couple in an open marriage and the after effects of this decision.
Yours Unfaithfully may have been written in 1933, but it stands the test of time, still holding court in today's world. I have encountered many couples in an open relationship, so this story really fascinated me. Max von Essen and Elisabeth Gray play husband and wife "Stephen and Anne Meredith." "Stephen" is an author who's creative juices have stalled, so as a way to get them flowing again, "Anne" encourages him to find excitement outside their marriage. This is where the drama starts. Lines are crossed, feelings are hurt, and emotions are high. It's very interesting to see how the one who encouraged opening up the relationship is the one who's most affected. "Anne" has a very hard dealing with "Stephen's" play time. While "Stephen" may be happier, "Anne" is suffering and starts playing around herself, which causes even more drama.
Max and Elisabeth's chemistry is terrific! They really play off of each other very well. From the loving moments to the painful ones, Max & Elisabeth feel like a real married couple. Mikaela plays the part of "Diana" very well, the friend of "Anne" who is ultimately seduced by Max's character of "Stephen." Mikaela and Elisabeth do a great job of portraying rivals. Some of their scenes reminded of just why I love soap operas. Joining in the choas is Todd Cerveris who plays "Dr. Alan Kirby," a friend of "Stephen's" and old flame of "Anne's," who's also affected by "Stephen and Anne's" open marriage. I wish the depths of his hurt were explored more, but you get a sense of it. Rounding out the cast is Stephen Schnetzer who plays "Stephen's" father "The Reverend Canon Gordon Meredith" who tries to mend the breaking down of "Anne" and "Stephen's" marriage as well his relationship with "Stephen," his son.
As the show progresses, the drama and pain get deeper, while constantly wondering if "Stephen" and "Anne" will remain open or close things back-up. I think Miles made a good choice in how the show ends, but the questions continue long after.
Yours Unfaithfully raises many questions about love, monogamy, and relationships. What makes a couple decide to open up their relationship? Is it better to open things up rather than break-up? Is the decision to open up based upon one event or several events? Does the love you once had for each other remain or is lost when a relationship expands? Once the relationship is open, can it ever be closed? The answers won't be found in this three act, but only 2 hours 15 minutes show. They will need to be considered and thought about by you and your partner, for everyone must come to their own conclusion. What works for one couple doesn't necessarily work for another.
Yours Unfaithfully plays at The Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue) through February 18th only! Click here for tickets!
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