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Private Lives

Open Space Theatre at The Fisher Theatre, Bungay

Review published in Eastern Daily Press  9 November 2009 and East Anglian Daily Times 10 November 2009

Private Lives

Open Space provide an invaluable service touring quality amateur drama around the rural areas, and their latest offering confirms their reputation as entertainers of the highest calibre.

Noel Coward’s vintage period piece sparkles with repartee and one-liners in the Oscar Wilde tradition with all the 1930s’ wit and elegance. Many lines are deliciously acerbic, cruel and downright hilarious. The characters deliver them with panache – ‘I’m glad I’m not normal,” gets the response – “What an odd thing to be glad about!”.

The unlikely premise is a once-married couple meeting accidentally on their respective honeymoons to new partners, while sharing neighbouring hotel rooms. These are people who can’t live with each other, but can’t live without.

The play exposes the strains of relationships, dealing with other people’s pasts and sudden squalls of anger. A couple of songs, a comic dance and a side-splitting fight add to the sheer enjoyment. David Green directs with skilful expertise and really gets the very last drop of comedy from everything.

The four players (Sarah Farrar, Grant Filshill, Jane Cole and Stephen Phipps) work the spaces between the relationships flawlessly, showing exquisite comic timing, real stage presence and beautifully mannered behaviour except when they’re squabbling like alley cats.

It’s still on tour in the region and is thoroughly, unashamedly recommended.

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