PRIVATE LIVES – Therry Dramatic Society

PRIVATE LIVES – Therry Dramatic Society

Reviewed by Richard Lane

August 2013

Noel Coward’s  1930’s Private Lives  is a difficult work for Australian  directors but who better than Barry Hill  to tackle it. Nobody does Coward better than Mr Hill.

Elyot Chase played by John Koch and Amanda Prynne, Dianne K Lang, divorced for five years  have each  recently married another and arrive coincidentally at the same French hotel in adjoining suites. Their passion for one another is rekindled  and they flee to Amanda’s Parisian flat showing scant regard for their spouses.Elyot and  Amanda are  rich, careless people with nothing better to do than make love followed by sessions of  venomous quarreling.

After a slightly sticky start this production sails along nicely.  Mr Hill has beautifully brought out the indulgent yet glamorous, the passionate  yet awful , rekindled relationship between Elyot and Amanda. 

ActII is virtually a two- hander  for our lovers, where we see  them running the gamut of emotions from love to detestation. John is quite suave as Elyot, although he doesn’t always master the clipped and rapid rattle of Coward’s arch dialogue. Dianne is stylish and disciplined as Amanda, while Brad Martin as the cuckolded Victor is suitably stodgy. Alison Scharber is a fine foil for her philandering husband and Tamara Bennetts (Louisa)  in her cameo role is quaintly amusing.

Patsy Thomas’s  Act I  set limits stage movement but the main set is  fashionable and  elegant,  perfect for Amanda. The costumes are uncredited but are impeccable for the piece, glamorous , stylish and chic.
Richard Parkhill’s  lighting works very well, particularly in the opening scene and later as the morning light streams through the window.

Act III brings on the denouement we were all expecting and  Barry Hill and his cast have entertained us well with Noel Coward’s  risqué and pungent play.

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