Private Lives is well acted, funny and entertaining.
Noel Coward stated that there was “a well-written love scene” in act one and “a certain amount of sound sex psychology” underlying the quarrel scenes in act two, he described the supporting characters as “a couple of extra puppets” and concluded that as a complete play it left a lot to be desired, not least because there was so little plot development after the first act. (The Telegraph)
In truth he was correct. There was little plot development in act 2 and due to the lack of comfort in the Royal Alexander Theatre many patrons around me tonight were wishing the play would have been 30 minutes shorter. More on that later. What Noel Coward failed to mention was that for this play to work the acting has to be superb and this production was no exception. Under the excellent direction of Richard Eyre the acting was superb.
From the second Kim Cattrall took the stage she had the audience in the palm of her hand.
She was beautiful, funny and sexy as Amanda.
Her interaction and comfort with Paul Gross was superb.
Paul Gross was captivating and elegant as Elyot.
He captured the soul of the character and delivered an excellent performance.
He got the loudest applause/laugh of the night when he stated he was leaving and going to “Canada”. You can take the man out of the country but you cannot take the country out of the man….
Kim Cattrall and Paul Gross were well supported by Simon Paisley-Day as Trevor and Anna Madeley as Sybil. Simon delivered an excellent performance.
This production of Private Lives is excellent and the cast superb and I for one believes that it will do well when it opens on Broadway.
Unfortunately, this production in Toronto is staged at the Royal Alexander Theatre. As you leave the theatre you will see an advertisement for a coffee table book claiming the Royal Alex is the most elegant Theatre in the continent. By elegant do they mean the grand old lady of Toronto theatre? I assume so, because at 104 she is certainly old. Perhaps in the past it was elegant and comfortable but not today. Today it has the feeling of an old cinema that would play silent movies. When it opened in 1907 it was typical of the 19th century style for theatres. The Mirvishs’ have owned it since 1963 and I must confess I do not see much in the way of enhancements. From the moment you enter the theatre till you are squashed in your seat you feel its age. Some would say it is quaint but I say it is not. It is a very uncomfortable venue for patrons. The legroom is the worst I have yet experienced. I am not that tall and my knees were way beyond the back on the seat in front of me very uncomfortable. The seats have so little padding you may as well be sitting on plywood. Take a moment and look up and see the paint flaking on the ceiling and the dirt on the beautiful decorative moldings. Perhaps the intention is to give that old feeling but I do not believe so. The Royal Alex re-opened after renovations in September 1963, with the comedy “Never Too Late”, it is “never too late” to renovate the Royal Alex and lose the old cinema feel. It really does need some TLC.
Enough said about the theatre, the play and the cast of Private Lives are wonderful.