Touring – reviewed at Richmond Theatre, London
Guest reviewer: Carly Burlinge
Noel Coward’s classic comedy Private Lives, revived here by director Christopher Luscombe, is the story of Elyot (Nigel Havers) and Amanda (Patricia Hodge), who find themselves both on their honeymoon with new partners but were once married to one another!
They happen to end up in the same hotel on the French coast, and when realisation hits them that only an adjoining balcony parts them, all panic starts to breaks loose. They begin to make up all different excuses to their new married partners Victor (Dugald Bruce-Lockhart) and Sibyl (Natalie Walter) to try and get the hell out of there. It seems any excuse but the truth is what arises in order to cause any sort of suspicion.
Although this only backfires causing both new couples only to argue and be abrupt with one another, leaving Elyot and Amanda feeling frustrated and now sharing cocktails on their balcony wondering how they both got to this point in their lives and are they both really happy. They both start reminiscing after a piece of music sets them off and memories flood in. Have they really made the right decisions in life and what next steps will their journey entail?
Nigel Havers – Elyot plays his part well, playing it safe in his second marriage, it’s just comfortable and easy, but there’s not a lot of passion within his new relationship. He’s older so he can take charge and have a somewhat easy life. He plays it with charm as well as flipping the coin and being outraged, wound up and unreasonable still he had the audience laughing on many occasions.
Patricia Hodge – Amanda plays a woman of the world she certainly knows what she wants but also regrets many choices that she’s made. Shes thrilling to watch with a mix of sophistication against the need to be wanted. Together they had a fantastic connection on stage and gave a wonderful performance.
The set was a beautiful French hotel very cleverly designed with adjoining balconies using the lighting to reflect as a sunny day looking over the French coast with the sounds of the sea lapping in the distance giving it a brilliant affect.
Private Lives offers a little bit of everything an absorbed storyline, drama, romance, chemistry and how love can feel so real but if you take a harder look maybe everything is not always as it seems!!!
‘Nigel Havers & Patricia Hodge have a fantastic connection onstage’: @FairyPowered falls in love with Noel Coward’s classic comedy #PrivateLives, directed by @luscombechris on tour. ★★★★