Noel Coward's Private Lives remains fresh and funny at The Avenue
PUBLISHED: 10:53 22 March 2019 | UPDATED: 17:07 22 March 2019
Review: Private Lives, by Noel Coward, Red Rose Chain, Avenue Theatre, Ipswich, until Sunday April 7
Sparkling, slick and witty, Jo Carrick and Red Rose Chain’s production of Noel Coward’s Private Lives is utterly delightful, darling!
Marriage isn’t easy, especially the passionate, volatile can’t live with or without each other kind that Amanda and Elyot had. So when they serendipitously land in France in neighbouring hotel rooms honey mooning with their new spouses Victor and Sybil, it doesn’t take long for the smouldering flame to explosively re-ignite.
Other peoples relationships are far more entertaining than one’s own, and Coward skims the surface of realities with a satirical sharpness that would leave a relate counsellor not knowing where to start. But Jo Carrick’s timing with show is perfect, seeing that we too are collectively in the middle of a painful, bitter, bickering, side swapping, surreal Brexit divorce!
So much like the real world, setting this show in the round everyone gets a good view of the glitter covered emotional carnage merry go round which creates an intimacy between the show and the audience that we can totally escape into.
And escape we do, into a gorgeous vintage world of the English upper class, satin gowns, cocktails, French glamour and Amanda suddenly recalling she has a flat in Paris. Jo Carrick provides lots of light and shade in this finely balanced production. The wit of the play is utterly sublime and a total treat to immerse yourself in. The pace and precision of all the actors performances is perfect and each line is delivered with an effortless finesse. However Elyot’s more brutal moments serve to wake us up, not sugar coating the past with too much nostalgia, seductive as it is.
Ricky Oakley and Fiz Waller as Elyot and Amanda have real chemistry, bringing a depth behind the witty one liners. Harriet Leitch gives Sybil a physical determination that reveals how underestimated she is by Elyot. As Victor, Ryan Penny is simply hilarious. His characterisation is pure comedy, but develops real pathos that adds a touch of kindness to the proceedings, which although much welcomed, feels sadly unvalued in this world. But when the jokes are this good, who cares!