Author: Suse Coon

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Monday, February 3rd, 2014 at 11:05 am
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Arts

Must we Always Bicker? (Private Lives)

Noël Coward’s 1930s sparkling, witty comedy of manners, Private Lives, arrives at The Lyceum just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Private Lives follows the difficult relationship of divorced couple Elyot and Amanda who, while honeymooning with their new spouses, discover that they are staying in adjacent rooms at the same hotel in the South of France. Cue Elyot and Amanda falling in love – and in hate – all over again as their bewildered new spouses, Sibyl and Victor, try to cope.

Love is complicated! Amanda and Elyot are trapped in a repeating cycle of love and hate, unable to live without each other but far from harmonious when they are together. You know this is never going to work.

Coward wrote the play while convalescing after a bout of ‘flu in Shanghai. He played the part of Elyot Chase himself and persuaded Gertrude Lawrence to clear her diary to play opposite him. Its second act love scene (featuring the now-married-to-someone-else couple) was nearly censored and only saved when Coward performed the play for the censors to demonstrate that it could be done tastefully.  The new husband and wife were originally written as minor characters, though he later insisted that they should be credible new spouses for such strong lead characters.

When it first appeared, many critics thought the play was tedious and only saved by brilliant acting, a suggestion which has attracted many stars, including Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, to the roles.  Coward wrote one of his most popular songs, “Some Day I’ll Find You”, for the play.

In this production, Private Lives is directed by internationally acclaimed writer, director and choreographer Martin Duncan, who says, “Sparkling wit – brilliant dialogue – one of the greatest rom-coms of all time! They don’t write them like this anymore…”

The full cast is Kirsty Besterman as Amanda, John Hopkins as Elyot, Ben Deery as Victor, Emily Woodward as Sybil and Nicola Roy as Louise.

Private Lives is on at the Royal Lyceum from 14th February – 8th March 2014.

Book tickets on 0131 248 4848 or online here.

 

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