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April 2004
The Constant Wife
reviewed by Kate Young in The Isle of Wight County Press 30/04/04
(reproduced by kind permission of the Isle of Wight County Press)

The Constant Wife, as currently being performed by Cowes Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society, is comical enough but could benefit from being much slicker.

This group has a reputation for keeping plays by some of the older writers alive and this masterpiece by W. Somerset Maugham is no exception.

Susan U'Ren is great as Constance Middleton, the clever, yet faithful wife of surgeon John Middleton, played with passion by John Wiles.

I particularly liked Sandie Munt's portrayal of Marie-Louise Durham, the 1920s fashionista who is Constance's best friend and the object of John's infidelity.

Helen Plumbly is good as Constance's rather disagreeable sister Martha, while Maggie Pearman Taylor is the perfect wise matriarchal figure as Constance's mother, Mrs Culver.

Judith Westbrook gives a solid performance as family friend Barbara Fawcett, and I thought Bob French was excellent fun as Bernard Kersal, who longs to marry Constance.

The cast also includes Ray Munt as the long-suffering butler, Bentley, plus Colin Phillips in the small, but dramatic role of Marie-Louise's husband, Mortimer.

The show, produced by Jane Phillips, benefits from beautiful period costumes and a simple, but effective set design.

I also loved the choice of music, which is in keeping with the 1920s era in which the play is set.



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