PRIVATE LIVES REVIEW - VAL RULOFF
Praise and plaudits are hereby endowed upon this exquisite and peerless Private Lives production!
It is very easy to follow up previous first impressions comments because this "Private Lives" production quite simply not only lived up to all promise, but also brought it to fruition and breathed life into it. Private Lives outdid itself and managed to exceed all expectations!
The rave reviews previously mentioned are thoroughly well deserved and well earned.... Private Lives certainly is stunning!
Those (aforementioned) superlatives merit repeating, so here we go.... fabulous, glorious, excellent. Sparkling effervescence is not only evident but has been released like a popping champagne cork after a vigorous shake!
The cut glass delivery and the sharply observed characters enthralled once more. The casting has proved inspired, with Francois Pandolfo's Elyot, Claire Cage's Amanda, Jude Deeno's Victor, Paisley Jackson's Sybil, Marcela Ayala Ramirez's Louise absolutely spot on!
I was asked a very good question on opening night about what differences I had observed following first impressions. The simple answer would be that it is "even better" now, of course. It is so much more than that in all honesty... each cast member has honed their own character "down to a T". They are funny and well-drawn, with some very subtle mannerisms and gestures now developed. Little set pieces and very humorous traits and voice tones are all in the mix to perfectly interpret the character... these are a joy. The ingredients work together to perfectly enhance performances.
The audience were captured, quite enraptured and the laughter uproarious!
The dialogue and the repartee are very clever, cantering along at a great pace and without the performers missing a beat. They are a delight to watch and listen to.
This certainly owes a great deal to the direction and input by Chelsey Gillard, Artistic Director of the Torch Theatre.
Private Lives is not an easy production to bring about, partly for reasons such as complex and witty dialogue stated above. It is a play with romantic drawing room comedy themes, but there are some dark undertones and difficult aspects within the content. These matters were handled with aplomb by each cast member, interpreting these issues skilfully, with confidence and credibility. This more than confirmed the equally confident predictions of my fellow reviewer, Liam Dearden, and myself.
The costumes are superb and glamorous, perfect for each character and fashions beautifully chosen to reflect the era of the play. The music and the sound effects are also particularly evocative of the period and the locations. The sets are a much-anticipated revelation, too. Not only do they accurately reflect the beauty of art deco architecture and interior designs, but they enhance the situations, the action and the story beautifully. So sophisticated and stylish! Again, a joy to behold.
It only remains to be said that following the taster, the main course and the dessert is sublime and worthy of Michelin 3-stars! I'm really looking forward to returning for second helpings now!
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