top of page

Private Lives

Is playing at the Music Box Theatre located at 239 West 45th Street. It opens on November 17, 2011 and runs until February 5, 2012. There are three acts and one intermission between acts 1 and 2.
Private Lives is a romantic comedy set in a hotel in Deauville, France and a flat in Paris.
Written by Noel Coward, it premiered in London in 1930. The first Broadway production opened at the Times Square Theatre on January 27, 1931. In London it starred Noel Coward, Gertrude Lawrence, Adrianne Allen and Laurence Olivier. The same cast appeared in the New York production and ran a total of 256 performances. Walter Winchell said of this production " something to go quite silly over" (Wikipedia).
Various actors have played the lead role "Elyot" Robert Stephens, Richard Burton, Alan Rickman and Matthew Macfadyen. "Amanda" has been played by Tallulah Bankhead, Elizabeth Taylor, Maggie Smith and Kim Cattrall.
The play was made into a movie in 1931 starring Norms Shearer and Robert Montgomery.
There have been several revivals of this pay the latest was in 2010 at the Vaudeville Theatre in London and starred Matthew Macfadyen and Kim Cattrall were it ran for ten weeks. It played in Toronto from September 2011 to October 2011. The current production is at the Music Box Theatre on Broadway starring Kim Cattrall and Paul Gross.
Kim Cattrall has won a Golden Globe and Emmy for her role in Sex and The City. She was born in Liverpool, England and moved to Canada when she was three months old.
Paul Gross is one of Canada's most popular actors. He has appeared in a show called "Stings and Arrows, receiving two "Gemini" Awards (Canada's Emmy) for this role.
Sybil (Anna Madelge) and her bridegroom Elyot (Paul Gross) are on their honeymoon. They are on the terrace in their hotel room. Sybil keeps bothering Paul about the details of his ex wife Amanda. He doesn't want to discuss it and is getting annoyed with her. When they go into their room the couple in the next room come out. They are also on their honeymoon. Victor (Simon Paisley Day) wants to know about Amands's (Kim Cattrall) ex husband. Amanda doesn't want to get into it. Both spouses leave. Amanda hears Eylcot sing and realizes it's her ex husband. All hell breaks loose. Elycot and Amanda tell their spouses they have to leave now, not giving the a reason why. Sybil storms off and so does Victor. Elycot and Amanda rekindle there love, hate relationship. They run off to Amanda's Paris apartment leaving Sybil and Victor without an explanation. We find Amanda and Elyot in bed. The maid has been given time off. Their love is in full bloom. But as the time passes they are at each others throats again. The maid return so does the spouses. Things get out of hand. I'm not giving out the details as not to spoil it.
This is a wonderful revival. The humor is still fresh after 81 years. I just wonder how shocking it was in 1930 and if somethings were staged differently then as it was done now. Such as Kim coming on the terrace in a towel or them in bed with her legs around him? Amanda makes a crack we are living in sin. Which Elycot replies no we are not were Catholic. They don't believe in divorce. So we are still married. But she says were not Catholic, he says but I'm sure they'll back us up.
Kim and Anna's costumes were stunning. They were done by Rob Howell. He won the Olivier Award for best set design for Troilus & Cressida, Vassa and Richard the III. In 2006 he won The Olivier for best set design for Hedda Gabler. He has received numerous Olivier Awards for both set and costume design and Tony nominations for Boeing-Boeing (set design) and The Norman Conquest (costume design).
I was impressed with Kim Cattrall performance. She did an outstanding job. I'd like to see her do a more serious role on Broadway. I'm sure she would carry it off.
Paul Gross was good but their was something missing, he wasn't suave enough.
Anna Madely does her role convincingly. I wanted to shake her in order for her to shut up.
Simon Paisley Day does a job well done. He is so stuffy, so British. You want to cheer Amanda for leaving him. He's uptight and boring.
I'm not one for comedies but this one show I would see again.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich.
Photos by Annazor

bottom of page