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A stilted take on infidelity that feels more like debate than theater

Wednesday, Jun 15 2005
Joanna Murray-Smith's play Honour explores the nature of marital infidelity. When a middle-aged newspaper pundit, Gus (John Doman), trades in a 32-year relationship with his poet wife, Honor (the OBIE Award-winning Kathleen Chalfant), for a fling with Claudia (Christa Scott-Reed), a sexy young journalist, life changes irreversibly. The play goes some way toward understanding the motivations behind Gus' actions and the fallout that ensues, but doesn't go far enough. The characters often seem more like mouthpieces for different theories about love than real people, and the play is as much a debate about relationships as it is true theater. Unhampered by the ungainly set, with its endlessly rotating bits of teak-veneer-and-suedette-upholstered furniture, the crack cast -- especially Emily Donahoe as Gus and Honor's indignant twentysomething daughter, Sophie -- brings out the playfulness of Murray-Smith's punchy dialogue. Yet for all the talent, Honour still feels stilted and predictable.

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Chloe Veltman


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