Friday, February 26, 2010
I’m back at home in England now, and I’ve just been to see Noel Coward’s classic play, Private Lives in London’s West End. A comedy of manners written in 1930‘s, it is somehow just as pertinent and funny today as it was then. It tells the story of two couples honeymooning in Deauville, France. It turns out that the husband of one couple (Elyot) was previously married to the wife (Amanda) of the other couple and - horror of horrors - the couples have rooms next to one another with adjoining balconies. Elyot and Amanda’s marriage was stormy and their divorce bitter, but neither one ever really got over the other. You can imagine the chaos that ensues when their love is rekindled and they run off with one another to Paris, leaving their new spouses in the lurch. However their relationship is still as complicated as ever, and this makes for a very funny play. The ending is quite unexpected, and rather nice for everyone concerned.
This new production at The Vaudeville Theatre on the Strand in London stars Kim Cattrall and Matthew Macfadyen. They make a fantastic Elyot and Amanda; their comedic timing is absolutely wonderful. The supporting cast (Lisa Dillon, Simon Paisley Day and Caroline Lena Olsson) are equally brilliant. The sets and costumes are fantastic, with some of Kim Cattrall’s costumes looking as if she might have been able to wear them in her role as Samantha in Sex in the City, had it been set in the 1930’s.
One thing that made me smile was how this production appealed to so many different sorts of people. There were those who went for the play itself, and many who went to see the actors - particularly Kim Cattrall. (Some of the ladies in the audience were definitely dressed up a la Sex in the City!) There were also people of every age in the audience - from my 17 year old son (who was dragged along but ended up loving it) to some quite elderly patrons. Everyone was clearly enjoying themselves and at one point they had us all nearly crying with laughter.
We had great seats front row centre in the Royal Circle with lots of room to spread out as I had bought three tickets, not knowing my husband would be away! Sadly he missed a hugely enjoyable evening. If you happen to find yourself in London’s West End I highly recommend you go along and see this very entertaining play. It runs until May 1st at the Vaudeville Theatre (nearest tube Charing Cross). Tickets are available from the theatre box office (click here) or from selected ticket agents.