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The Mint Theater Company Presents "Yours Unfaithfully" at the Beckett Theatre
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The Mint Theater Company Presents "Yours Unfaithfully" at the Beckett Theatre

- Backstage with the Playwrights


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Mint Theater Company
Jonathan Bank, Producing Artistic Director
Jen Soloway, Managing Director

Yours Unfaithfully

By Miles Malleson
Directed by Jonathan Bank

At the
Beckett Theatre
(Theatre Row Website)
410 West 42nd Street

Todd Cerveris, Elisabeth Gray, Stephen Schnetzer
Mikaela Izquierdo, Max von Essen

Sets: Carolyn Mraz
Costumes: Hunter Kaczorowski
Lights: Xavier Pierce
Sound and Original Music: Jane Shaw
Props: Joshua Yocom
Hair, Wigs & Makeup: John Jared Janas
Production Manager: Chris Batstone
Press Rep: David Gersten & Associates
Production Stage Manager: Pamela Eddington
Illustration: Stefano Imbert
Graphics: Hey Jude Design, Inc.
Stage Manager: Jeff Meyers
Casting: Stephanie Klapper, CSA
Advertising & Marketing: The Pekoe Group

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
January 29, 2017 Matinee

Miles Malleson, an early 20th century English playwright, actor, producer, director, who was captain of his cricket team and fiercely progressive in matters of romance and marriage, finally has his 1933 play, Yours Unfaithfully, fully staged, but almost a century after his pen was dry. With semi-biographical elements interspersed throughout, this parlor play is nothing short of delightful and satisfying. Jonathan Bank, Producing Artistic Director of Mint Theater Company, that “finds and produces worthwhile plays from the past that have been lost or forgotten”, has directed this perfectly refined gem, suitable for a Sunday matinee, so that each character seems painted with a watercolor brush, breezy, sleek, and subdued. The three-act piece, with two intermissions, is first set (Acts I and II) in summer 1933, at the country home of Anne and Stephen Meredith and then (Act III) two months later, in the Meredith’s London flat. Carolyn Mraz’ sets are eye-catching, with colorful tapestries and wallpaper, scenic paintings, and a sense of educated class. The Merediths, married eight years with two offstage children, own a progressive boarding school and appear to have it all, as both are well groomed, well dressed, and well spoken, with banter that masks secrets of the heart and hidden schedules.

The playwright, an advocate and practitioner of polyamory in his various marriages and relationships, has created, in Stephen (astutely played by Max von Essen), a novelist with writer’s block, whose wife, Anne (Elisabeth Gray), encourages him to have a flirtatious fling to unlock his expressive passion. With dramatic timing, in walks the sexy, charismatic Diana Streatfield (Mikaela Izquierdo), Anne’s friend, whose husband was recently killed in a plane crash, and the games begin. Well beyond Anne’s seemingly selfless gesture, Stephen and Diana are planning Parisian getaways with possessed fervor. Of course, as in all parlor plays, Anne has her own past and impending dalliances, and the question of the worth of such extramarital affairs to a couple’s continued bonds of trust and security tantalize stage dialogue and audience afterthought. In fact, related audience reactions were overheard in the Theatre Row lobby after the curtain. Mr. Malleson’s obsession with cricket competitions was also woven within the acts, as Stephen’s father, the Reverend Canon Gordon Meredith (Stephen Schnetzer), a self-righteous conservative, well known in these country towns, kept arriving from and departing to offstage cricket games with sophomoric glee.

The remaining character, Dr. Alan Kirby (Todd Cerveris), Stephen’s close friend and Anne’s even closer confidant, was a bit of a one-man Greek Chorus, examining issues at hand, offering comfort and advice, and exhibiting gestural nuances that mirrored the mood of the moment. My one wish with the casting was that it exuded more spark. With Stephen’s physical intimacies with both women critical to the plot, theatrical chemistry was requisite. Repression was overstated. What was not overstated, however, was the final act, in London, with Anne’s anticipated revenge and Stephen’s solitude as he slept, while waiting on a chair. I had hoped for more of this natural realism in the earlier scenes. Ms. Izquierdo should be seen more often, as she boldly exuded unconflicted fire and strong stage presence. Mr. von Essen, who has received rave reviews on these pages for his roles in the Broadway musicals, Evita and An American in Paris, was at his best in the scenes alone with Ms. Izquierdo. Yet, I did not want this play to end, and I look forward to more of Mr. Malleson’s oeuvres in future Mint Theater Company productions.

Max von Essen and Elisabeth Gray
in "Yours Unfaithfully"
Courtesy of Richard Termine

Elisabeth Gray and Mikaela Izquierdo
in "Yours Unfaithfully"
Courtesy of Richard Termine

Max von Essen and Mikaela Izquierdo
in "Yours Unfaithfully"
Courtesy of Richard Termine

Max von Essen and Todd Cerveris
in "Yours Unfaithfully"
Courtesy of Richard Termine

Elisabeth Gray and Max von Essen
in "Yours Unfaithfully"
Courtesy of Richard Termine

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at