The Theater: Old Play In Manhattan, Dec. 17, 1951

The Constant Wife (by Somerset Maugham) still seems very pleasant after 25 years. It gets by no means the right production; it is certainly not topnotch Maugham. But it starts, weaknesses and all, beyond the point where most popular comedy leaves off.

Maugham is Britain's last playwright with Restoration blood in his veins. It is very cold blood; feeling curdles the comedy of manners. It can tingle at naughtiness, but it treats sex as a springboard rather than a swimming pool. Maugham's Constance Middleton can pretend ignorance of her husband's affair with her best friend, can lie to save them when the...

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