Since the first production of ‘Private Lives’ in 1930, with the theatre’s two leading sophisticates Noel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence in the leads, the play has tended to be seen as a vehicle for stars.
QUT Academy of the Arts’ production boasted no ‘stars’, but certainly fielded potential stars in a sparkling performance that brought out just how fine a piece of craftsmanship Coward’s play is.
More than 60 years later, what new could be deduced from so familiar a theme?
Director Rod Wissler’s highly perceptive approach went beyond the glittery surface of Witty banter to the darker implications beneath.
With the shifting of attitudes to social values, it became clear that Victor and Sibyl were potentially the more admirable of the couples, with standards better adjusted than the volatile and self-indulgent Elyot and Amanda.
The wit was there, dexterously ping-ponged to and fro by a vibrant Amanda (Catherine Jones) and a suave Elyot (Daniel Kealy).
Julie Eckersley’s Sibyl was a delightful creation, and Phillip Cameron-Smith’s more serious playing was just right for Victor. Jodie Levesconte was a superb French maid. James Maclean’s set captured the Thirties atmosphere with many subtle touches.
All involved deserve the highest praise.
Labels: Generic structure