NY1 Theater Review: "Private Lives"
"Sex and the City" star Kim Cattrall returns to Broadway in a new production of the classic Noel Coward comedy "Private Lives." NY1's Roma Torre filed the following review.
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"Private Lives" is quite possibly Noel Coward's best and most popular work and that turns out to be a blessing and a curse for any revival of the classic comedy. Familiarity breeds comparisons. There've been eight Broadway productions since 1931 featuring the likes of Coward himself, Gertrude Lawrence, Maggie Smith, Tallulah Bankhead, and Elizabeth Taylor with Richard Burton to name but a few. I loved Alan Rickman and Lindsay Duncan nine years ago. Now it's Kim Cattrall and Paul Gross in the lead roles and I have to say they're doing a bang-up job as the famously combative couple.
The iconic Amanda and Elyot locked in a love/hate relationship are never at a loss for words thanks to Coward's brilliant, dry wit. Free-spirited spitfire Amanda should be a natural fit for Cattrall. Known for playing consummate cougar Samantha in "Sex and the City" she adds a lustiness to the role that's more typically seen as equal parts fire and ice. The ice melts quickly with Cattrall and what emerges is a somewhat more human and, dare I say, slightly softer Amanda. Of course it takes two to tango and Paul Gross's hyped-up Elyot makes a divine partner. He's got great comic instincts without sacrificing Elyot's nasty edge.
Overall, Richard Eyre's production which started in London's West End is in great shape even overcoming the play's saggy middle. And I must say the wild second act set of Amanda's bohemian Parisian pad is, for better or worse, quite a distraction.
But this play rises and falls on the strength of its leads. The two Canadian-bred actors are an enjoyably combustible pair. And yes, sparks do fly.
I've seen "Private Lives" four times and this is not the best production. But it is a winning one and I somehow doubt Coward would have any cause to quibble.