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Noël Coward's

Private Lives

April 24th - October 26thAvon TheatreTicket Info
Generally Positive Reviews based on 7 Critics
  • top 74% of shows in the 2019 season
7 Reviews

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This is a listing for the 2019 season. For the current 2023 shows click here.

Now - Glenn Sumi

This play sparkles

“what’s revelatory about this production is how complex the characters are. The personas that Amanda and Elyot have created for their new spouses in the first scene crumble when they see their exes.

And over the next hour and a half, Davies and Peacock are so believably enmeshed as a couple – they know, love and hate each other’s idiosyncrasies – that it’s a delight to simply watch them together.”

Read Full Review07/02/2019

Stage Door - Christopher Hoile

Perloff does not recognize where the...

“Unfortunately, the way Perloff has managed it, the to-and-fro between the two [Lucy Peacock and Geraint Wyn Davies] is not so much comic as tedious. Coward gradually builds up their conflicts so they become ever more intense. Here Perloff lets their conflicts stay on the same level of intensity until the final over-the-top blow-up at the end of the act….

…in Act 3, Perloff does not leave well enough alone. She has Elyot eat marmalade directly out of the jar with a jam spoon and grimace and later put on Louise’s hat and carry her purse simply to get a laugh. Such actions show Perloff thinks she can make Coward funnier, whereas it only shows she does not recognize where the real humour lies.”

Read Full Review06/05/2019

The Globe and Mail - J. Kelly Nestruck

Peacock is superb

“The performances Perloff has elicited are refreshingly down-to-earth, however. None of that debonair posturing, the artificial old-mannered acting styles that can drag down Coward productions.

Peacock is superb as Amanda – a rich and aimless woman who nevertheless nurses a deep sadness that apparently only Elyot and his tempers can assuage. The actor’s line deliveries are fresh and funny, but there’s always a beating heart underneath.

Wyn Davies, meanwhile, isn’t afraid to play Elyot as a violent misogynist. “I should like to cut off your head with a meat axe,” he shouts at Sibyl, no Cowardian charm to couch it.”

Read Full Review05/31/2019

The Beacon Herald - Steve Rice

Shara gives the production one of...

“Coward’s attack on the sexual stereotypes of the time is nowhere clearer than when Elyot informs Amanda that it doesn’t suit women to be promiscuous. “It doesn’t suit men for women to be promiscuous,” Amanda shoots back, drawing applause and cheers.

As Amanda, Peacock is everything audiences have come to expect over her years in Stratford, not so much delivering lines as thoroughly being Amanda. Her fine work ensures that even the most subtle humour isn’t missed, like when Vincent asks if she loves him. “Of course, that’s why I’m here,” is the coldly insensitive response.

Shara gives the production one of its best performances, playing Victor with perfect stiff pomposity. A momentary pause and almost imperceptible tilt of the head frequently restrains his emotions before he gathers himself to speak. “I’m glad to be normal,” he declares early in the play, not long before he pauses to adjust a vase of flowers on the table with a quarter-turn.”

Read Full Review05/31/2019

James Wegg Review - James Wegg

Taut, funny, impeccably presented

“The first act of Noël Coward’s Private Lives ranks amongst the tautest, funniest, impeccably presented bits of theatre ever seen at the Stratford Festival…

Alas, after the interval, where the suddenly reunited Amanda and Elyot have resumed their relationship after a five-year hiatus (being only married for three years sounds a false note in Coward’s backstory), are seen in a Paris flat learning how to bicker in style all over again. Except in this iteration, both are wise enough to develop a “time out” code that may well keep them from Divorce Court II.

There are still many fun moments (notably past music keeping the lovers’ flames burning bright—at times ably accompanied by Wyn Davies’ not inconsiderable piano skills), but the forward momentum sags compared to the opening salvo.”

Read Full Review05/31/2019

Toronto Star - Carly Maga

Camp is an inescapable esthetic at...

“As New Yorker critic John Lahr called Private Lives, reviewing a 2011 New York City production starring Paul Gross and Kim Cattrall, it is “a plotless play about purposeless people” — a compliment that cements the play as a “high-camp masterpiece” and Coward as definitive camp icon.

At Stratford, Carey Perloff’s production recognizes the particular appeal of a piece of high-camp theatre, pairing the equally delightful duo of Lucy Peacock and Geraint Wyn Davies…”

Read Full Review05/31/2019

Entertain This Thought - Mary Alderson

Mike Shara is perfect as Victor

“Mike Shara is perfect as Victor – he has genuinely fallen for Amanda, and then sees his fears realized when she goes back to Elyot. Sophia Walker, as Sybil, creates comedy with her concerns about Elyot’s love for her, but goes over the top with her crying. Sarah Dodd is hilarious as the maid, Louise, in her all-too-brief appearances.”

Read Full Review06/03/2019

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