Tag Archives: Private Lives

REVIEW: Private Lives – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

The mere sight of one another from their hotel balconies on their respective honeymoons is enough to tell the previously married Elyot and Amanda that they are still in love. Noël Coward’s brittle, bickering, perennially popular pair return in Tom Attenborough’s new production of Private Lives, but does it still charm a modern audience?

Famously written in three days in 1930 and premiered at the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh the same year, any new production has to tread carefully to prevent Coward’s venomous barbs from slipping into parody. Attenborough’s production doesn’t deviate from the well-trodden path of his predecessors, this is very much a traditional production and at an economical two hours including interval, you’ll be out in time for the last train home.

Tom Chambers (Elyot) has recently been making a successful career out of playing louche lotharios from the 20s and 30s, and indeed, his talents are fully exploited here. The former Strictly Come Dancing and Top Hat star gets an opportunity to show some nifty dance moves as well as his singing and piano playing skills in a medley of Coward classics. Chambers’ Elyot isn’t as fully-fleshed-out as one would want it to be and some of the pithiest and wittiest lines are thrown away in his delivery. This is not a duel of equals as Coward intended it to be, Laura Rogers’ Amanda is a far more feisty foe than her former spouse. That said his performance is both engaging and entertaining. Indeed, his entry alone prompts applause from the appreciative audience and there are murmurs of anticipation before each of these oft-quoted lines.

In support Charlotte Ritchie as second spouse Sybil and Richard Teverson as ‘rampaging gasbag’ Victor have little to do, but what they do, they do well.

Attenborough’s production offers nothing new and may not be as ‘jagged with sophistication’ as it could be, but Coward’s wonderful words retain their ability to amuse and entertain over 80 years after they were written.

Runs until 27 February 2016 | Image: Alasdair Muir

This article was originally published at: http://www.thereviewshub.com/private-lives-theatre-royal-glasgow/

REVIEW: Noel Coward’s Private Lives – A Play, A Pie and A Pint, Oran Mor, Glasgow

I’m sure you’ve probably gathered that I go to the theatre a lot – sometimes 3-4 times a week for a combination of work and pleasure. How I’ve managed to miss or ignore Oran Mor’s A Play A Pie And A Pint until now, I just don’t know. The lure of food is never a bad thing in my book but the lure of food, alcohol (or not if you choose) and Noel Coward is just about downright irresistible. And so it proved as I trotted off to see this, not quite knowing what I was letting myself in for. Now the gathered (and obviously well-versed in the routine) hoards around Oran Mor were beating a tactical path to the rear of the bar to queue to snaffle either the best seats or the best pies – I’m not sure which. After doing the old jacket on one chair, bag on another routine to nab a prime view amongst the unreserved seating I went to obtain my promised pie and pint and very fine they were too.

The biggest surprise of the day wasn’t the jam-packed theatre space, the fine pies or the sheer amazement at the fact that they managed to condense Noel Coward’s 1930 masterpiece into an hour, but the sheer quality of the acting on show. Each member of the cast fizzed and sparkled throughout the whole of this utterly charming and truly delectable story. Selina Boyack, James Mackenzie, Jennifer Hainey and Richard Conlon deserve every plaudit thrown their way. They portrayed the sizzling chemistry, high comedy and moments of still shocking (even after 82 years) amorality of the piece perfectly.

Get a ticket to this quick – I urge you – runs until Saturday details here.