TO SEE OR NOT TO SEE: Private Lives
Fresh from acclaimed runs in London and Toronto, Noel Coward’s masterful comedy of a “can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em…so I’ll smack ’em” couple returns to Broadway directed by Richard Eyre and starring Kim Cattrall (Sex and the City) and Paul Gross.
“…Mr. Eyre’s production convincingly stakes a claim not only for Ms. Cattrall as a skillfully pliable actress but also for the bubbly pleasures forever on tap in Private Lives.” New York Times
“It helps that esteemed director Richard Eyre applies a light, sure hand, and the actors show a similar ease and dexterity.” USA Today
“…this zesty production of Private Lives is a reminder that some people were writing about sex in the city decades before Candace Bushnell was even born.” Entertainment Weekly
Mizer’s Two Cents: Let’s cut to the chase; Cattrall is no “TV star stunt casting” case but a capable stage actress. In particular, she handles physical comedy with gleeful panache (watch her just try to stay silent for two minutes) and finds a surprising level of vulnerability in what can be an epigram spouting terror. When she alights on a balcony railing and tentatively warbles her way through a period tune, lost in memory and yet hoping to stir the interest of her ex-husband, she is heartbreakingly lovely. Who wouldn’t fall for her? Her co-star Paul Gross helps enormously by bringing swagger, sexiness and timing to the duet. If he sometimes seems to steamroll through everyone, that hint of danger (and our resulting niggling of concern for Cattrall’s Amanda) adds an interesting shade of darkness and depth to an otherwise sparkling production.
Though the bubbling comedy does fizzle a bit toward the very end of the play, see it for the sophisticated champagne script and well-played lover’s duel.