Socialites behaving badly becomes a source of great amusement in this humorous play by Noel Coward. His clever pun on words and the manner with which he escalates a situation, creating instant tension, is very well crafted.
Elyot & Sibyl
Debonair and divorced gentleman, Elyot Chase never expected to start his honeymoon to beautiful Sibyl, 17 years his junior, at the same hotel as his former wife, Amanda Prynne, who just so happens to also be on her honeymoon to a much younger Victor. A moment of awkwardness and embarrassment has a surprising twist as old flames are ignited and young hearts are left to pick up the pieces.
In a moment of spontaneity, Elyot and Amanda reignite their lustful desire for one another and decide to high-tail it out of the fancy-pants honeymoon hotel to pick up where they left off five years earlier. They hide-away at Amanda's apartment in Paris… the city of love…and lust.
Elyot and Amanda's blissful reunion soon turns to bickering. They invent a code to subdue their bickering once it starts to escalate. They allow themselves two minutes of silent sulking. The spark is diffused temporarily only to blow up into flames in spectacular style.
A gramophone record is smashed fair across Elyot's head by an enraged Amanda. Slaps across the face ensue and the spectacular demolition of a very stylish Parisian apartment as Elyot and Amanda's bodies are flung about the place in marital battle.
Cushions are Frisbee-ed across the room sending ornaments and vases crashing. It is at this point that the energy picks up in the production.
The performances up until that point were quite controlled and disciplined in their delivery. There was a lack of lustful anticipation that would be expected of new honeymoon couples. The new marriages appeared to be a bore from the very start with little emotional electricity being transmitted between the bride and groom.
Perhaps this was the 'stiff upper-lip' syndrome expressed by the English. The actors relaxed a little more during the second and third acts but all up Sibyl and Victor's performances were not particularly convincing as the ditched bride and groom. There was very little emotion and energy in their performances considering they had just experienced the devastation of being ditched on their honeymoon without a word of explanation. The performances of Victor and Sibyl were a little bit too matter-of-fact for my liking. A little more emotion at seeing their partners with their ex's would have stirred some sympathy for their plight with the audience.
Jacki Simmons was well cast as Amanda. Her delivery was cool and precise without the need to overact. She commanded the stage with an elegant presence that ensured you kept your eyes on her.
I enjoyed this play. It is so well written that it is relatable to today's marriages. Humanity has not changed much over the years. We can laugh at the jealousies, the bickering, the frustration, the sexual tension, and the egotistical disregard of the feelings of people we hurt in an attempt to feed the craving to be loved unconditionally.
I certainly enjoyed the stylish flair of this play with its beautiful costumes and set. Gold Coast Little Theatre has again delivered another production of quality under the direction of Roger McKenzie. If you're in the mood for a bit of light-heartedness that will bring a smile to your face, or you just enjoy the intimacy a theatrical production delivers, then book in to see Private Lives.