Thursday, 18 October 2007
Friday 5 October 2007 - Private Lives
Tonight we enjoyed a hilarious performance of Noel Coward’s Private Lives, at Manchester’s Library Theatre. A most enjoyable way to end the week. The theatre was full, and whilst the management had missed a trick by running out of programmes (tomorrow is the last night), it’s nice to know that good performances are recognised by better attendances than expected.
If I had the text I’d reproduce more than just these two of the wonderful one-liners:
“Very flat, Norfolk”
“Don’t quibble, Sibyl”
Here’s a review from The Manchester Evening News:
Private Lives @ Library Theatre
Kevin Bourke - 12/ 9/2007
BRILLIANTLY barbed and extravagantly enjoyable, Chris Honer’s elegant new production of the Noel Coward classic has teeth and claws as well as heart and soul.
Despite the popular image of Coward as thoroughly superficial, Honer’s perceptive production throws the spotlight on the language of the play.
In its precision and barely-controlled fury, it devastatingly reveals how thin is the veneer of civilization, he argues, prefiguring Pinter and even David Mamet.
Yet, and just as importantly, the play is hilariously funny and this spot-on production has the audience falling around with laughter, with the cast, especially Phillipa Peak who plays Amanda, all demonstrating tremendous comic talent.
Five years before the play opens on a hotel balcony in the luxury French resort of Deauville, Amanda and Elyot (James Wallace) had been married before their very passion tore them apart.
Now both of them have married again – he to Sybil (Isla Carter), she to Victor (Philip Rham) – and, to their mutual dismay, find themselves about to start their honeymoons in adjoining rooms.
Amidst the verbal skirmishing, love once more rears its beguiling head and the pair high-tail it off to Amanda’s secret flat in Paris, carelessly abandoning their respective spouses without a word. But back in Paris, old tensions violently reveal themselves even before Sybil and Victor track them down.
Years of inferior rep productions and dull, uninspired but high-profile revivals have somewhat taken the lustre off Private Lives. But this exhilarating, production fairly fizzes with life, love, pain and laughter.
The photo shows Phillipa Peak (Amanda), Philip Rham (Victor), and Isla Carter (Sibyl).