The Constant Wife

REVIEW by Willard Manus

Somerset Maugham's 1927 play, THE CONSTANT WIFE, gave the theatre world a new kind of heroine in Constance Middleton (Ann Hearn), a woman we would today call a feminist. Married to a successful Harley Street doctor (Richard Hoyt Miller), she not only tolerates his love affair with her best friend Marie-Louise (Gina Torrecilla) but actually believes it's a good idea, one that will help make her wedded life happier and more successful. Freed from the distracting passions of the flesh, she can concentrate on being a good companion and nurturer, with time left over to become a businesswoman as well. She'll also be a better daughter, sister and friend--in short, a happy, well-adjusted human being.

Maugham delivers his sly, bracing message of female emancipation with considerable wit and style, as befits the British drawing-room comedy tradition. Featuring a superb, Broadway-like set by Jeff R. Rack and scintillating costumes by Elizabeth Huffman, THE CONSTANT WIFE is a pleasure to look at. The play has been well served by the Theatre 40 company, especially by director Bruce Gray and his nine-person cast (which also includes Mary Gregory, Wayne Thomas Yorke, Jackie Maruschak, Kathrine Bates, Gordon Thomson and Duane Robin Young).
Reuben Cordova Theatre, 241 Moreno Drive, Bev. Hills. Call (310) 364-0535 or visit