Southwick play stays true to Noël Coward’s original

The Southwick Players production of Private Lives features, left to right, Ben Cassan as Victor,  Bea Mitchell-Turner as Amanda, Leigh Ward as Elyot and Louise Yeo as Sibyl

The Southwick Players production of Private Lives features, left to right, Ben Cassan as Victor, Bea Mitchell-Turner as Amanda, Leigh Ward as Elyot and Louise Yeo as Sibyl

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SOUTHWICK Players took us back to the 1930s’ world of Noël Coward with their production of Private Lives.

The play, staged at the Barn Theatre in Southwick from last Wednesday to Saturday, was true to the original.

Arguably a challenging choice, it was generally well received, although on Friday night, it didn’t get all the laughs it deserved.

Coincidentally, the play was highlighted in last week’s BBC Four drama Burton and Taylor, which detailed their rehearsals and performances in July 1963 when they were brought together again for the play.

Hopefully that encouraged more people along to Southwick, and certainly there were not many seats to spare on Friday night.

Vital to the success of the play is the relationship, and sexual chemistry, between Elyot Chase and his former wife, Amanda Prynne.

The pair were played by two newcomers to Southwick Players, Leigh Ward and Bea Mitchell-Turner.

Bea was particularly impressive and the pair managed to stage the fight scenes well as their rekindled relationship descended into repeated arguments once more.

The fight scenes needed to be carefully managed to stay the right side of funny and this was just about achieved, as records were smashed and cushions thrown about.

Alongside them, Southwick stalwarts Ben Cassan and Louise Yeo played Victor Prynne and Sybil Chase, the warring couple’s unfortunate new partners.

Louise was particularly impressive, holding her lovely 1930s accent well, although in the first scene, I was desperate to knot her long pearls, as they appeared to be causing her some nuisance.

Both bought out all the insecurities of the pair as their separate honeymoons quickly began to fall apart.

Some of the best laughs, though, came from Debbie Creissan as Louise the French maid as she bustled about in the aftermath of the fight scene.