We had an amazing review from our opening night of  "Private Lives",

in Scene One Plus, the top local entertainment magazine

showcasing all the arts and entertainment in Dorest and Hampshire.

Pete Whitaker has been reviewing theatre for many years

which makes this review more special...

"The set and props used throughout the show, from the Hotel terrace to

Amanda’s Paris flat, were perfect and of the era.

Everything looked like it was meant to be there and were used by the actors.

 

Elyot is played magnificently by Paul Stillwell.

Elyot’s first wife, Amanda, is played brilliantly by Andrea Cutler.

The chemistry between the two is played so well and the transitions between

the scenes played when they are expressing their love for each other,

to the scenes where they are literally at each other’s throats are seamless and

executed with skill.

Sibyl is played by Terri Spencer who portrays the

vulnerable 23 year old very well.

I was really impressed with her performance.

Victor Prynne is played by the accomplished Danny DeLyons,

who brings a class to the part and works really well with Terri.

 

I could go on forever highlighting the standard of acting in this production,

but I would simply urge you to watch this show.

A show of this magnitude and stature requires excellent actors with the ability

to learn a massive amount of dialogue and have comic timing … and this one does.

The sharpness and speed of the dialogue is key to delivering the story in the manner

it was written and how Noël Coward wanted it played.

This play does all of that.

 

A mention is also required for the cameo of Alan Ponting, who plays Louis

with the dry sense of humour that Noel Coward would have been proud of.  

Whilst the cast receive the accolades on stage from the audience,

praise needs to also go to the wonderful Direction.

It is not easy to move five actors around a stage and utilise

the space and props available, but it is done with brilliant fluidity.

 

I cannot fault this production.

From the acting to the staging, it is all excellent."

Pete Whitaker, Scene One Plus.  29.3.2019

A review in the Lymington Times newspaper...

Lymington Times review.jpg

A full transcript of the Lymington Times review....

PLAY REVIEW: PRIVATE LIVES.

PERFORMED BY THE SCARAMOUCHE THEATRE COMPANY AT

THE MILFORD COMMUNITY CENTRE. 30/3/2019.

 

"Noel Coward’s Private Lives follows the fortunes of two honeymooning couples sharing adjoining suites on the Normandy coast. The worldly Elyot (Paul Stillwell) has married the younger Sibyl (Terri Spencer) while the equally worldly, Amanda (Andrea Cutler), has wedded herself to the slightly wet-behind-the-ears, Victor (Danny DeLyons).

The intrigue is that Elyot and Amanda were married to each other for 3 years and have now been divorced for 5. Realising that their new marriages are shams and that they are still in love with each other, they flee to Amanda’s flat in Paris leaving their hapless partners to trail, disconsolately after them.

The play is a comedy of manners and a delicious portrayal of two characters who cannot live without each other but, paradoxically, cannot live with each other.

Elyot and Amanda are glowing magnets of charisma, passion and careless cruelty that the shallow satellites of Sibyl and Victor cannot help but follow.

After the play’s opening run in London in 1930, a critic from The Observer wrote that the play ‘was unrealistic and relied on brilliant acting to be effective.’ I would disagree with the first observation – the characters are easily identifiable in 2019 – but agree with the second. The script is wonderfully witty but relies so much on what is not said. The manner in which a cigarette is lit and smoked is almost as important as the timing of such comic gems as:

‘My mother thinks you’ve got shifty eyes,’ or, ‘Perhaps, she’s made Norfolk flatter,’ etc.

 

The nuances and mannerisms of the actors are as important as what they say and the excellent cast did not fail to deliver.

Superbly directed by Anne Ponting, the characters were joyously bought to life from the wonderfully, care-free, hedonistic, Elyot to his formidable nemesis in love, Amanda;

 the hopelessly naïve, Victor and the spoilt child of Sibyl.

The play also featured Louis (Alan Ponting) in a beautifully played cameo of Amanda’s grumpy French manservant who is only concerned with the physical mess of the flat rather than the psychological mess of the protagonists.

The background team of Paul Stilwell, Anne Ponting and Stephen Blatchley cleverly utilised sound, lighting, superb costume, props and set to create a suitably realistic 1930’s backdrop. The silver cigarette cases, lighters, gramophone, chaise longue and the edge of a grand piano demonstrated a well-researched and very effective attention to detail. Perhaps, my only quibble was the slightly too-long set change between Acts One and Two but that is, essentially, a superficial and very minor piece of nit-picking.

This was a highly professional and enjoyable production that highlighted not only the intrinsic humour of Coward’s writing but also the uglier and more subtle undercurrents of human nature contained within. This was the first production of the fledgling Scaramouche Theatre Company and Milford on Sea readily

anticipates their next outing."

 

Ian Hey