Production 147 Private Lives

Private LivesBy Noël Coward

Performed on Thu 18th to Sat 20th July 1996 at The Kilshawe Theatre

 

 

 

 

The Cast

The Cast

Sibyl Chase Elaine Hockley
Elyot Chase Malcolm Sewell
Victor Prynne Mark Comley
Amanda Prynne Claire Wilson
Louise Stephanie Young

Cast of Private LivesCast of Private Lives

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Previews/Reviews

Previews/Reviews

Private Lives

Cast of Private Lives

Stuck for Words in the Great Man’s Presence

If Stephanie Walmsley has one regret about meeting the celebrated playwright Noël Coward, it is that she was so in awe of him she was lost for words. He gave her a marvellous cue when he asked What are you going to do with your life? If only her response had been that she would love to appear in one of his productions her life may have been very different. For it was Coward who helped launch the carreers of Laurence Olivier and John Mills. Unfortunately, Stephanie was so overwhelmed by meeting her idol that she could not utter a reply. Her memory of that remarkable encounter, in a dressing room at London’s Haymarket Theatre, is as vivid today as it was when she was a young girl. And it is certainly very topical for her today, with the staging of the classic Coward Private Lives by the amateur theatre group she has belonged to for 15 years. Fellow performers with The Guild Players have been captivated by Stephanie’s tale of her two memorable meetings with the man. It was thanks to her parents, both journalists with national newspapers that she managed to meet Coward. My father was a columnist with the Sunday Express and during a lunch with Coward he mentioned I was a great fan, said Stephanie. Shortly after that I was amazed to receive a letter from him, to which I responded with four pages of gushing appreciation of his work. But a letter was not really enough for the young Stephanie, who pestered her mother for a meeting with the playwright. Her wish was granted when she was invited backstage after one of his performances. I walked into his dressing room and saw this god in a red and white dressing gown she said. He held out his hand and said – how sweet of you to come. If that wasn’t enough to keep the smitten Stephanie happy, she next found herself at one of his famous parties where she rubbed shoulders with the likes of Ivor Novello, John Gielgud and Peter Ustinov.

Cast of Private Lives

Private Lives get a Public Airing

There was nothing private about the lives of Noël Coward’s four characters captured bu members of The Guild Players. In fact their pasts, present and probable futures were portrayed very publicly to the appreciation of the first night audience at Deal’s Kilshawe Theatre. Any Coward fan would not have been disappointed with this faithful tribute to the surprisingly undateable comedy. Private Lives, to the uninitiated, is a spotlight on 1930s living featuring the frightfully well to do. While it would be easyto turn the likes of Sibyl and Elyot Chase, Victor and Amanda Prynne into caricatures, the cast did not overstep the mark. Their portrayals were well within the boundaries of believability, though it is still hard to imagine that people like that did and probably still do. Exist. Malcolm Sewell captured Elyot, in all his arrogance, with confidence. Both he and Claire Wilson (Amanda Prynne) gave stylish performances and seemed undaunted by their abundance of dialogue. They had obviously worked hard at creating the unlikeable yet unmissable couple whose love/hate relationship travelled on a non-stop rollercoaster. Talking of warring couples, Victor Prynne (Mark Comley) and Sibyl Chase (Elaine Hockley) found themselves forced together and finished up fighting. Mark easily eased himself into the role of the pompous Prynne, and Elaine was adept at being irritating as the tantrum throwing Sibyl. By the final act everyone ended up indulging in beastly behaviour and if the cast weren’t exhausted by their draining liaisons, the audience probably were. Not to be forgotten was Stephanie Young as the suitably French maid Louise. Sets were impressive and director Richard Sewell , along with producer Gill Watson deserve praise indeed.

Natalie Bowling

Production Team

Production Team

Director Richard Sewell
Producer Gill Watson
Stage Manager Lei Cobb
Stage Hands Dick Turner & Tony Harverson
Set Designer & Builder Dick Turner
Assistant Builders/Painters Tony Harverson, Gill Watson & Lei Cobb
Furniture Building Tony Harverson
Lighting Nick Tigwell
Props Prue Jamieson & Lei Cobb
Costumes Christine Eyden
Make-Up & Hair Styling Jo Carnell
Prompt Denise Harverson
Music & Effects Christopher Sewell
Front of House Managers Charles Bailey & Nathan Sewell
Front of House Assistants Brenda Smith, Pam Rawcliffe & Peggy Bailey
Bar Carol Melville & Nathan Sewell
Raffle Paul Rutterford
Refreshments Sue Watson & helpers
Guild Players Stall Phyllis Gray
Publicity Paul Rutterford & Justin Rams
Publicity Photographs Tony Coleand, Joe Miller & Raymond Harlow
Box Office Gwen Shane
Programme Design Christopher Sewell

Cast of Private LivesCast of Private Lives