This Oldham Coliseum Theatre and Harrogate Theatre’s co –production in association with Anvil Arts is a real cracker as it is a beautifully staged production of one of Noel Coward’s most popular plays, yet it never feels workmanlike.
 
Sybil (Maeve Larkin) and Elyot (James Simmons) are newlyweds honeymooning in Deauville when Elyot discovered is ex wife Amanda (Jackie Morrison) and her new husband Victor (Christopher Naylor) are honeymooning at the same hotel in the next room. Cue some fantastic comedy scenes with acerbic dry sarcastic wit dripping from the actors' mouths and delighting the audience in the process. 

The pitcvh perfect performers work incredibly hard to bring this delightful piece to life, and the results offer the audience everything you want from a great night at the theatre. As ever the set at the Coliseum is a credit to the designer Michael Holt, particularly during Act Two as it allows the actors to move around the stage and create moments of laugh-out- loud comedy with ease.

Simmons and Morrison in particular have a great chemistry and portray Elyot and Amanda as a fiercely passionate, deeply romantic yet volatile and highly strung characters with such conviction and aplomb that it is very easy to become sucked in to their world and complicated relationship. 

Acted with panache and class and expertly directed by Robert Herford, this production of Private Lives is a gem and a great way to liven up a dull and dreary January/February evening.  

- Ruth Lovett