Joanna Murray-Smith wrote Honour more than a quarter of a century ago, in 1995. A neat 90-minute four-hander that examines the disintegration of a long-standing marriage, it’s been staged around the world, clearly hitting a chord with its depiction of a middle-aged man’s desire for a younger woman and the wife he leaves without warning.
Lucy Bell as Honor and Huw Higginson as George in the Ensemble Theatre’s Honour. Photo © Prudence Upton
Small changes can have a big effect on a work. The Ensemble’s new production gave Murray-Smith the opportunity to update references to the present day, which she achieves without strain. She also had a little tinker to take into account shifting perceptions of how a woman might regard her role in a partnership where she gives up certain things as her husband works on his career. And I might be misremembering, having last seen Honour at Sydney Theatre Company in 2010, but there seems to be rather less of the juddery, stuttery, let’s-begin-again language that for me made some aspects of Honour seem too brittle and artificial.
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