By Noel Coward
Royal Exchange Theatre, 28 February 2011
The triumph of this play, undoubtedly Coward’s best, derives from the way in which the characters are both above and in the fray of life.
Elyot and Amanda (played admirably by Simon Robson and Imogen Stubbs) are sophisticated, chic, glamorous and oh so modern; yet they are also bruised by past experience, still very much in love, bewildered by emotion and have a vulnerability that they cannot shed.
With Coward’s writing, similarly, there is wit and superiority (even if its sometimes pasted on or is tongue-in-cheek) yet also genuine emotion. He knows women, particularly a certain highly strung, capricious, ever so slightly unreasonable sort of woman and he loves them, beauty spots and all. Their flaws are adornments.
This Royal Exchange production does the play full justice. It is an enjoyable and an immensely entertaining ride, as always, especially Acts 2 and 3.
Private Lives is running at The Royal Exchange Theatre until 9 April. Details here.