The Constant Wife

March 1984

by W Somerset Maugham, directed by Joyce Evans


Mrs Culver - Joan Bowditch

Bentley - Ben Grimsey

Martha Culver - Diana Lucas

Barbara Fawcett - Alison Lambourne

Constance Middleton - Margaret Butt

Marie-Louise Durham - Lynn Trout

John Middleton F.R.C.S. - James Pettit

Bernard Kersal - Jeff Harreld

Mortimer Durham - Gerry Norburn

Production Team:

Producer - Joyce Evans

Stage Manager - Brian Bowker

Production Secretary - Carol Pettit

Set Construction - Michael Trout & Roy Wheeler

Costumes - Olive Rumford & Miranda Leger

Properties - Rosemary Stephenson & Sybil Hopson

Lighting - Barry Matthews

Publicity - Lynn Trout

Prompt - Mary Jones

Front of House - Richard Thorne


From Estuary News:

....the performance of Margaret Butt was impressive in its strength and resource-fulness

The latest production of Estuary Players, set in upper middle-class London of sixty years ago, has little action or physical movement. It progresses through 'developments' within its central theme. This is to do with male versus female in terms of the latter's assertion of the right to equal treatment. It therefore has a contemporary relevance, if only to demonstrate the persistence of the same hypocrisies and arrogance. The weapon used by Somerset Maugham against these vices is a sharp cynicism. At times it is used so heavily that it seems the characters serve only as the medium or object of Maugham's sardonic wit, rather than as subjects of interest in themselves.

As a play The Constant Wife requires some special effort to transpose it successfully and to satisfy today's audience. Estuary Players have managed both, for which much credit goes to the producer, Joyce Evans, and to the designers and creators of the set, which was excellent. Of the players there is much to be said, albeit briefly, in commendation. The male characters, variously trapped in deceit, infatuation or outrage, were well-portrayed in the rigidity of their attitudes by James Pettit, Jeff Harreld and Gerry Norburn.

The leading female roles, played by Margaret Butt and Joan Bowditch, as formidable, and to the male view, disconcerting personalities, were well-supported by Diana Lucas, Alison Lambourne and Lynn Trout. Some plays, and this is one, are very dependent for their coherence upon one central role. Here it was that of Constance, and in that part the performance of Margaret Butt was impressive in its strength and resourcefulness.

- Reviewed by: J.B.S.