Private Lives

Date 11th November 2016
Society Alton Operatic & Dramatic Society
Venue Alton Assembly Rooms
Type of Production Comedy
Director Alison Crow


Author: Pauline Surrey

Private Lives – an Intimate Comedy – first shown in 1930 and a perennial favourite, concerns a divorced couple, who whilst on honeymoon with their new partners, find themselves awkwardly in adjacent hotel rooms. Chaos ensues!

In Scene 1 the balcony set transported one immediately to warmer climes, the cocktails looked most tempting. The Scene 2 and 3 Paris flat was delightfully Art Deco.

The costumes helped to portray the difference in character of the glamorous Amanda, in her wafty, willowy dresses, and the younger, less sophisticated Sybil, in her plainer outfits – though her evening attire was glamorous enough.

The cast managed to portray the mood and the elegance of the 1930s admirably – much drinking of cocktails, much smoking of elegant cigarettes. Noel Coward, the wordsmith par excellence, master of witticisms and brilliant put downs, demands excellent timing from his actors, and the cast in this production were well able to rise to the challenge. It was immediately clear that the mutual fascination of Elyot (Matt de Quincy) and Amanda (Jane Samways) would cause their new spouses to become an irrelevance and an irritation. These spouses Sybil (Vicky Jarman) and Victor (Jim Woods) played their parts as the somewhat calm and insipid second choice partners to perfection. De Quincy made a superb Elyot, the ladies’ man, sophisticated, a little too fond of his drink. We also enjoyed a fine performance by Jane Samways, as the willowy vamp, with perhaps a bit of a past, fiery and explosive.

Alison Crow, the Director, gave us a superb evening of fun and laughter, and a trip back to those more elegant days. A very enjoyable performance.