Unfaithful (4 stars)

This article is from 2014


Sparkling new drama by Owen McCafferty about infidelity, staged at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

A plumber having a pint after work in a boutique hotel is approached by a bold young woman with red lips and a swishing ponytail. She is the same age as his daughter. Does he, she asks with the electric confidence of youth, want to fuck her? With that four people embark on a tiger-chasing-its-tail circle of sex, self-deception and dishonesty that is not always what it seems.

Tom the plumber has been married to Joan for 30-odd years and, since their daughter had left home, they have forgotten how to be alone together. Sex is rubbish. It turns out that Tara, the upfront vixen, is with Peter, the male escort that Joan books for a revenge liaison after Tom and Tara squeeze a dirty weekend's worth of depravity into an encounter up a close.

Benny Young as Tom and Cara Kelly as Joan glow at the heart of this production. Young is pitch perfect as the gruff, Scottish fifty-something man who thought he had forgotten how to do anything more than install toilets. Kelly soars as the enraged wife who feels she has been cheated of a life rather than cheated on by her husband.

Owen McCafferty
's sparkling new script is at its best when these two are together. Their parts are so well written, and Rachel O'Riordan's direction of them is so assured, that the younger two sag ever so slightly in comparison. Owen Whitelaw's obnoxious male escort is a thinner, less confidently conceived character while Ameria Darwish, as Tara, has all the chutzpah to set off the fireworks but less of the emotional range needed for the sticky bits.

They have, however, the thankless task of providing the plot backup, the platform on which the grown-ups shine. And how they shine: like a copper pipe used as a weapon.

Traverse, 0131 228 1404, until 24 Aug (not 11, 18), £19 (£14).


  • 4 stars

Can relationships withstand the brutality of betrayal? Joan and Tom, Tara and Peter; two couples struggling to comprehend their roles as lovers, partners and individuals. As Tom and Tara face the tedium of daily life, how far will they go to feel their hearts beat again? When their paths cross, the emotional fall-out will…