Theatre in Wales

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Played with the speed of delivery of the Hollywood screwball comedies

Private Lives by Noel Coward.

. London Classic Theatre , Theatr Clwyd, Mold , March-31-18
Private Lives by Noel Coward.  by . London Classic Theatre London Classic Theatre have been touring revivals of classic plays since 2000. Over the years I have seen several of their productions and they have always come up fresh and gripping.

Private Lives is certainly no exception. Director Michael Cabot has taken his cue from Coward's reaction to New York theatre on his first visit there. "The speed! Everybody seems to say their lines at such a rate. You'd think you wouldn't understand a word, but you do!"

The opening balcony scene when Elyot and Amanda, divorced and each on a second honeymoon, find themselves in neighbouring suites, is played at a furious lick. And certainly you understand every word, not only that but they get the laughs too.

The relationship between Gareth Bennett-Ryan's Elyot and Helen Keeley's Amanda kept reminding me of George and Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf with the two of them facing off at the slightest provocation yet clearly still madly in love. And compliments to John Fryer, the fight director. When the two come to actual blows there were gasps from the audience at some of the moves.

When it comes to the new partners Sibyl and Victor, Coward deliberately wrote them as colourless and boring, he certainly didn't want himself and Gertrude Lawrence upstaged. It's a compliment to Olivia Beardsley and Paul Sandys that they are entertainingly boring and that by the end they are well on the way to becoming Amanda and Elyot but without the wit.

Played with the speed of delivery of the Hollywood screwball comedies of the period, this is a highly entertaining production.

Reviewed by: Victir Hallett

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