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Witty, sophisticated and classy – they save best for last

Polly Lister and Louis Tamone in Private Lives
Polly Lister and Louis Tamone in Private Lives

Private Lives is one of Noel Coward’s most popular plays and written as a vehicle for Coward himself .

It is a frothy intimate comedy with witty dialogue and characters that epitomise the 1930s period.

The plot centres around Sybil and Elyot who arrive at a hotel in France for their honeymoon. Amanda, Elyot’s first wife, happens to be in the adjoining suite with her new husband Victor.

When Amanda and Elyot meet they elope but when they are together they veer between happiness and fighting.

Victor and Sybil follow them only to discover them rolling on the floor fighting and so begins a four-handed quarrel during which Eloyt and Amanda steal away into the sunset.

The last play in the repertory season, the company has saved the “best till last”. Director John Heston has pulled out all stops and produced a seamless and sophisticated offering that Coward’s work demands with brilliant characterisations and impeccable physical comedy and timing.

The four main characters deliver their dialogue with pace, panache and style. As Elyot, Louis Tamone has the charm of a rich society womaniser. Teamed with Polly Lister’s spirited Amanda they tackled some difficult and demanding physical comedy scenes smoothly yet with sophistication.

As the empty headed Sibyl, Polly Smith was a joy to watch and so typical of the dutiful new society wife of the period. Marcus Hutton’s, stiff upper lip archetypal English gentleman was sincere and believable but had an edge.

Private Lives demands teamwork and chemistry between its players and this cast certainly have that in abundance.

The repertory season has brought an important part of our theatrical heritage back to to the theatre. It runs until Saturday September 22.

Performances daily at 7.30pm plus a matinee on Saturday at 2.30pm.

Tickets: 01423 502 116