The Constant Wife

Years ago, when the Razor’s Edge movie came out starring Bill Murray, we saw it on opening day.  The movie opened at the Ziegfield.  It got panned but I loved it.  I was into reading Somerset Maugham.  I saw the Constant Wife last night and I forgot how much I enjoyed his writings.  I might have to pick up a Maugham book for some summer reading.

I really enjoyed the Constant Wife.  It is not a play that I’d necessary run out and buy tickets for but am thrilled that is part of the productions at the Roundabout where we are members.  So in essence, it is part of the 7 play package I have booked over the season.  Some are good, and some are eh.  This was good.

Kate Burton steals the show.  She plays the Constant Wife.  Although there is top billing for Lynn Redgrave, her part is no larger than others in the cast. 

The play takes place in London, 1920’s.  Life of the wealthy.  Yet it is incredibly modern for the times. Constance is happily married to John.  They have been married 15 years.  She basically thinks they stopped loving each other after 5 years but that is fine with her.  She understands her role.  She keeps the house, makes sure the kids have nannies, then sends them off to boarding school, and enjoys her life.  Even though she knows her husband is having an affair with her best friend, it is fine with her because she has a great job and it just goes with the territory.  Her sister is absolutely aghast.  Her mother tends to agree.  Yet in the end, Constance wins over them all. 

An old suitor comes back to into her life.  He is still madly in love with her.  She has no intention of leaving her husband but she figures since he had an affair and she stood by him, she might as well too.  After his affair, she takes a job with her friend and makes some serious money.  The money gives her the independence to  go about her own life as she sees fit.  Her husband sits in the palm of her hand.  It was exquisite manipulation. 

The best line of the night is produced by Lynne Redgrave.  Constance can’t decide if she is actually in love with her suitor.  Her mother, played by Lynn Redgrave, says there is only one way to tell if you are in love.  That would be if you were willing to share his toothbrush. 

The entire play is tongue and cheek.  Well acted.  Funny and modern story.  I’m glad I saw it.