"The Five Wives of Maurice Pinder"
The up-and-coming playwright Matt Charman in England has a new play titled "The Five Wives of Maurice Pinder". It opened on June 20 in London's National Theater, to this unsympathetic review by the London Times (June 22, 2007):
If we can credit the Cottesloe programme, we soon won’t have to trek to outlandish subsections of Utah to find households like the one on show in Matt Charman’s Five Wives of Maurice Pinder. Polyamorism, as it’s called by sexual anthropologists, may become rife in overpriced terrace houses in respectable Lewisham. And the polyamorist-in-chief may be neither a Mormon patriarch nor the sort of mad-eyed predator who inveigles vulnerable women into cultish seraglios but the likes of the title character, a plain-spoken, laid-back Cockney with his own scaffolding business.
Forgive me if I’m somewhat sceptical. Larry Lamb’s Maurice is a bit too good to be true or, as a feminist might say, too much the sympathetically handled fantasy of a wishful male chauvinist.... He’s a large-hearted idealist who serially marries women who arouse his compassion and affection, divorcing their predecessors while keeping them both in his bed and in what he calls his “family”.
...Charman avoids prurient sensationalism. Rather, he suggests that this extended family is only marginally more peculiar and superficially less normal than your average Mr and Mrs Jones of SE13....
Read the whole review.
Nor was the Guardian's reviewer much impressed:
What constitutes a family? What makes a marriage? These are the questions posed by Matt Charman in his curious second play. But, far from providing any concrete answers, Charman simply presents us with a set of irreconcilable attitudes to the subject of polygamy.
...The problem is that Charman seems in two minds as to whether polyamorists like Pinder are to be applauded or attacked. Having wheeled on a pompous planning officer whose narrow definition of the nuclear family makes one side with the hero, he then does a volte-face in which Pinder is exposed as a self-satisfied egoist....
Read the whole review (June 21, 2007).
The play runs until August 27.