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I Know My Husband Loves Me at the Union Theatre | Review

I Know My Husband Loves Me
I Know My Husband Loves Me

Trust no one,” so I was once told in school by a teacher who I subsequently refused to trust in any way, even when it came to mathematical equations, and therefore I found myself in detention quite regularly that year. Then I stubbornly refused to budge at the supposed end of the detention because I didn’t ‘trust’ that the time was what I was told it was and would insist on a second opinion.

But what if the stakes are higher, as they are for Trish (Lia Burge), than such schoolboy obstinacy? I was rather put off by her ‘eff, cee and effing cee’ vocabulary in the opening scene, not because it is offensive (it isn’t) but because it is boring. At least it doesn’t last, though the production is made unnecessarily complicated by time hopping backwards and forwards – the show starts four years into Trish’s relationship with Alistair Mott (Shane Noone), and ends at that point, having not so much come full circle but taken a convoluted route between the first time they meet and what could be the last. There were no discernible costume changes either, as far as I could tell, which made the characters seem like the central family in The Simpsons or Family Guy, always in the same clothes irrespective of the time of year.

There is a reason why Noone is listed as both ‘Alistair Mott’ and ‘Vernon’ in the show’s programme – as to whether they are one and the same person is the sort of problem Trish is confronted with. Mott, an undercover detective, has his cover blown, and thus is forced to reveal himself as Vernon McIlroy: though is this even his real identity? When Trish asks to see a birth certificate, he replies that he could produce one with ‘McIlroy’ on it, but he can also produce one with ‘Mott’ on it – and thus presumably he could also produce a third, a fourth and so on with whatever names he wanted.

No actors leave the stage, and before the lights went down for the start of the show, all four are stood in the corner upstage left, as though they were mannequins in a department store. When Blair (Sianad Gregory) is finally introduced to the narrative, she wastes little time in trying to entice Trish into bedroom activity. Mott or Vernon or whatever his name is or isn’t (I think I shall stick with ‘Mott’ for consistency’s sake) is on his knees: having mixed business with pleasure, albeit under instruction, it is his genuine desire to keep a relationship that is no longer required for the purposes of the police’s undercover work going. There is a higher purpose: the relationship has resulted in a child.

I would have preferred a little more detail (not that there isn’t any, far from it) on the work of ‘Better Red’, perhaps unsurprisingly and unimaginatively the name of a pro-socialist organisation that sought to overthrow capitalism by direct action. Only Harriet (Joyce Omotola) comes across as honourable, inasmuch as there weren’t any discernible skeletons in her proverbial cupboards. Trish, although suspicious, with some justification, about what Mott continues to get up to even after they have kissed and made up, isn’t exactly saintly and faultless herself.

Some interesting points are made about the portrayal of men overall in certain quarters – not far removed, at the end of the day, from the negative portrayal of women in certain other quarters. Blair provokes Mott continually until he lashes out at her in a way that confirms her assertions. Well, sort of. For the most part, it’s compelling viewing, even if it feels at times like a cross between a soap opera and one of those talk shows where outrageous claims are made by one party in a relationship against the other. A fascinating play with plenty of food for thought, it felt incomplete, the curtain call feeling like the interval – which is no bad thing, ultimately, as it is better to leave the audience wanting more than to outstay one’s welcome.

4 stars

Review by Chris Omaweng

When it turns out that everything you know about the person you love, is a lie – where do you go from there?
Mott and Trish are husband and wife, with a 3-year-old daughter.
They are also senior members of a radical left-wing organisation.
Their world comes crashing down when Mott confesses he’s an undercover cop who was sent to infiltrate and undermine the group.

Can Trish ever Trust this man again?
Can Mott ever really leave that world behind?
‘I Know My Husband Loves Me’ is a play about honesty and love in a world of deception and intrigue.

Pete Talman – Writer
Niall Phillips – Director & Designer
Hannah Cordell – Lighting
@GlassofWaterUK – Sound
Dubheasa Lanipekun – Assistant Director
Sammy Gardner – PR
@Bread Collective – Creative Design

Mon 17th – Sat 22nd June 2019


1 thought on “I Know My Husband Loves Me at the Union Theatre | Review”

  1. Sound and lighting were superb. The stage was beautifully set and different allowing the audience to tap into the emotion of the story and of love betrayed. It taps into the raw emotions of deception

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