Theatre Review: Private Lives at the Theatre Royal

A night at the theatre isn’t always about song and dance, especially in this case with ‘Private Lives’ brought to us by Noel Coward.  You may assume that you can’t enjoy something that is so heavy story based but you thoroughly will as you find yourself getting lost in their world of humour, romance and old-fashioned sheer delight. 

private livesThe play’s main focus is the relationship between Elyot Chase played by Tom Chambers and Amanda Prynne played by Laura Rogers. They simply cannot make up their mind if they are in love or live better apart. Elyot divorces Amanda and gets newly wed to a young lady called Sibyl Chase who is played by Charlotte Ritchie, meanwhile Amanda is with Victor Prynne, played by Richard Teverson.

The relationships on stage were charming and humorous and the age of this play made people, if anything, enjoy it even more.

Act one production was set on a hotel balcony lit up on the stage as Amanda found out that Elyot was on the same honeymoon as her with his new partner, Sibyl. After tantrums and questions about each other’s romance had the audience in fits of laughter, when they met up they eventually ended up getting back together and ran away to Paris as they couldn’t be apart from each other. 

The love/hate relationship is played so well by Tom Chambers and Laura Rogers as their chemistry fully shows in their performances, and they took over the full play with their brilliant 1930’s era acting.

The set is changed to a house in Paris for Act two with the furniture and design showing the style from that era. They smoked their way through cigarettes and drank their way through brandy – perhaps to deal with the realisation that this is the only way they can put up with one another or possibly to prepare for the unfortunate later come-upping’s that’d be in store if Sibyl and Victor visit Paris to resolve their relationships.

private livesA sequence mid-way through Act two saw Elyot and Amanda dancing in true 30’s style with the record playing in the background on the set creating cheers and laughter from the audience. They also sang and played on the piano to break the act up at times.

As act three began, there was a knock at the door. Just as Elyot and Amanda were leaving after their fight, Victor and Sibyl stood affronted at how relaxed and oblivious they acted towards their presence.  Amanda and Sibyl making quick jibes back and forth at this point, regarding their relationship issues, screaming back at one another acting like children, was done very well and brought a lot of humour which the audience enjoyed. 

Act three carried on with Victor wanting to punch Elyot – then suddenly stopping for tea at the very end. As another argument erupted, this time between Sibyl and Victor who became the second main focus of this act, Amanda and Elyot just watched on as they realised for once it wasn’t them and finally left the stage together as a couple.

The actors definitely deserve the recognition for their fast paced dialogue and energy that came across from their excellent performances.

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