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Face Value

    by David Hampshire


Black Comedy Play Script: 'Face Value' by David Hampshire

A 25th wedding anniversary provides the impetus for this darkly comic play which explores the evolving relationships between three couples: Jonathan, Theresa’s husband has forgotten a special date. Christopher, their son, has lost his date. Allan, their divorced friend, is looking for a date. Ultimately though this anniversary is a date that no one will forget. As revelation follows revelation nothing and no one can be taken at face value.

Solicitor Jonathan adores his wife Theresa but he’s forgotten their 25th wedding anniversary. Or has he? Luckily, he has not (well, not completely) but in this, and in their normal domestic life, some disruption is caused by Theresa’s friend Christine, their widowed French neighbour, who regularly turns up at their door, which Jonathan resents.

Jonathan’s best friend Allan, an actor and an old school friend of them both, also frequently appears unannounced, which Theresa resents. Allan and Christine meet and are immediately attracted. Over a quiet celebratory drink Allan teases Jonathan about two flings that he’s had in the past; indiscretions which fill Jonathan with remorse.

Jonathan’s son, Christopher, and Christine’s daughter, Vanessa are childhood friends, and they arrive for the surprise anniversary meal at home which Jonathan had arranged some weeks earlier. On arrival, Vanessa is unhappy to discover her mother’s attraction to Allan who she finds out is quite a ladies man. As the guests assemble for the meal it’s obvious that Jonathan has forgotten all about it, including the food! Fortunately, the local pub has a vacant table, and as they all leave to celebrate there, Jonathan and Christine, unseen by the others, kiss each other passionately.

One year later. Christine and Allan are in a relationship and Allan tells Jonathan that he now feels ‘the L word’ for Christine and plans to propose to her. Christine however, confides in Theresa about how deeply she misses her deceased husband, Michael, and overcome with guilt she confesses to Theresa about kissing Jonathan.

Christopher and Vanessa, have now become a married couple and arrive with their new baby. During their stay Jonathan, feeling guilty that he rarely shows any emotion towards his son, gives Christopher a substantial cheque, counselling him not to tell anyone about it.

Allan is distraught when Christine tells him she wants to end their relationship, but despite this, one evening, Jonathan, Theresa, Allen and Christine play the board game ‘Face Value’ after which Allan voices his suspicion that Christine is involved with Jonathan. Theresa accuses Christine of having an affair with her husband and in the confusion of who gave which gifts to whom and when, they discover that Jonathan is the one who has been conducting an affair… with Vanessa. At this, Christopher returns the cheque to his father and leaves, then Theresa confronts Jonathan and tells him to go.

Three days later: Theresa and Allan console each other over the loss of their respective partners and their conversation reveals that it is Allan who is Christopher’s father. Might Allan have a future with Christine? The answer is not obvious, but it’s a distinct possibility.


110 mins approx


(3m, 3f)

  • Jonathan - early 60's, married to Theresa, a barrister
  • Theresa - late 50's, Jonathan’s wife
  • Vanessa - late 20's, Christine’s daughter, a nurse
  • Christine - early 60's, Jonathan and Theresa’s neighbour, French, widowed
  • Allan - early 60's, a long-standing friend of Jonathan and Theresa, an actor
  • Christopher - mid 20's, Jonathan and Theresa’s son, a drama student

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