The Arts Club Theatre Company

Private Lives
By Noel Coward

Venue: The Stanley Theatre
Dates: 11 March - 11 April 2004

Reviewer: Jane Penistan



Director Tom Kerr Costume design Alison Green Set and Lighting design Ted Roberts Fight choreography Adam Henderson Stage managerZoe Sanborn




Noel Coward

This bitter sweet comedy is as sharp and entertaining as ever. Coward wears well. The small cast of five actors is well dressed in two cleverly designed sets, one in Deauville and the other in Paris. The sunlit terrace of the fashionable seaside French resort contrasts with the darker, urban, opulent but somewhat overfurnished, spacious apartment of pre-war Paris.

The well chosen cast extracts every nuance of Coward's characters. As the youthful unsophisticated Sybil, Mia K. Ingimundson looks pretty, young and innocent. When realisation of Elyot's true personality dawns on her, she reveals an underlying vindictiveness as she sees herself as innocence betrayed. As her rival for Elyot's affection, Amanda is a woman of the world, one who has been wise in the ways of men and women since birth, possessed of a worldly intelligence and a sharp tongue.

Gabrielle Rose is an elegantly gesturing Amanda, who knows when to put the dagger in in the most vulnerable place. Even the self-centred, sophisticated, flippant and witty Elyot of Kevin Williamson is hardly a match for Amanda. Jerry Etienne's stolid and practical Victor Prynne is outclassed by Elyot and Amanda and he and Sybil deserve each other just as much as do Elyot and Amanda. Life for these four ill assorted, brilliantly written characters will never be peaceful.


The haunting song, "Someday I'll find you" runs through the play as a refrain in many guises, a constant reminder of the triumph of hope over experience. The experience of Private Lives will provoke you to present laughter and will keep your thoughts amused for long after the curtain comes down and you have returned to the real world of 21st century Canada.

The scintillating script is well served by this cast, the director and the designers of this production. It's one of the best of this 40th season's exceptionally good shows.

Arts CLub, Vancouver

Private Lives runs at the Stanley Theatre, 12th and Granville, March 11 - April 11, 2004 , Tuesday to Saturday at 8.00 p.m. with matinees on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2.00 p.m. For information, special events, reservations and tickets call the Box Office 604-687-1644, or visit

2004, Jane Penistan