Graham Greene

The Complaisant Lover

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A “delicious . . . champagne cocktail” of a stage comedy about a sporting British couple’s marital—and extramarital—propositions (New York Herald Tribune).
Victor Rhodes, a hearty and amiable dentist in North London, has what he thinks is a happy marriage. It’s stable, routine, and comfortably platonic. Five years and counting, his wife, Mary, feels the same way. That’s why she’s taken a secret lover—their good friend, Clive Root, an antiquarian bookseller for whom relieving complaisant husbands of their duty is a pleasure. But when Mary and Clive connive a rendezvous in Amsterdam, their getaway takes a surprising turn with a visit from Victor. What’s now at risk for Mary is more than a marriage to a man she genuinely loves but also a perfectly fulfilling affair with a man she truly desires. In this “sin-and-tonic work of art,” Mary isn’t about to give up either of them (Spectator).
“An expert at badinage full of quiet English verve, Mr. Greene writes with smooth sophistication” in his last play—a comedy of lies, cheats, and betrayals—produced by Sir John Gielgud at the Globe Theatre, London, in 1959 (The New York Times). Two years later, it debuted on Broadway, with a cast including Sandy Dennis, Michael Redgrave, and Gene Wilder.
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