Noel Coward (1899 - 1973) ..in a word? Classy.. The Brit was just a classy guy with classy ideas and classy moves. Noel Coward exuded Class in the early 20th Century. Known as a raconteur and playwright and singer and actor and as a Class Act, the guy brought the Drawing Room Comedy to the Broadway stage and later with plays like Blithe Spirit, the opportunity for community theatres and colleges and even high schools to enjoy broad characters who exude clever and classy reparté ..
The Independent Shakespear Company's revival of Private Lives, with some adjustments by ISC, presents an opportunity to see this 93 year old romp and enjoy the sly and flamboyant way "sophisticated" folks remarked in "clever quips" and the genius that set the standard for drawing room comedy so long ago..
|left-right: Brent Charles (Victor Prynne) & Asha Noel Iyer (Sibyl Chase)|
Evidently, ISC has engaged with the Noel Coward estate to make some adjustments to the script & the characters (originally spoiled white folks) with one racially diverse performer. Also.. a 'safe word' that Elyot (David Melville) and Amanda (Melissa Chalsma) make up to quell their firey exchanges: "Jackson Pollack !!" later abbreviated to "Pollocks!" seems odd in that Pollack, born in 1912 was not yet a famous artist?
It's a situation that color blind moderns will recognize as what happens when self involved privileged people are left to their own devices. All we know is that there are age issues and over the top personalities that, for the times in 1930 entertained theatre goers. Victor (Brent Charles) and Sybil (Asha Noel Iyer) (spoiler alert / see photo), as with the inevitable bend of fate, wind up with a major clash inherited from Elyot and Amanda, who.. well.. it's a situation that drives the narrative with vigor.
Of course, with a look and an attitude, Louise, the Mexican housekeeper (Noriani Estevez), steals the show... briefly.
The upside of this revival is that what was once a three act romp with a lot of acting going on has been reduced to a slightly more comfortable ninety minutes with one intermission for a major set change. There's a lot of 'acting ' going on, as, I am pretty sure was Noel Coward's intention. Broad strokes and broad characters with broad gestures and some terrific action in the second act are pretty funny. Thank goodness director Nikhil Pai has allowed Elyot and Amanda, as well as their young castaways, to get into it physically!
Revivals are tricky. Basic sets are not credited. Appropriate lighting by Bosco Flannagan seems to be deliberately secondary to the acting which explodes in a very stylized way.
Please note 7:30 PM curtain time.
Melissa Chalsma as Amanda Prynne
Brent Charles as Victor Prynne
Asha Noel Iyer as Sibyl Chase
David Melville as Elyot Chase
Noriani Estevez as Louise
Stage Manager: Samantha Barrientos
Costume Designer: Katelyn Lopez
Lighting Designer: Bosco Flannagan
Director: Nikhil Pai
Noël Coward’s Private Lives
directed by Nikhil Pai
3191 Casitas Ave. Ste 130
(between Fletcher Drive and Glendale Blvd.)
at the Atwater Crossing Arts + Innovation Complex
Los Angeles, CA 90039Free, ample lot and street parking.
Apriil 6 – May 7
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm; Sundays at 2pm
Press Night: Saturday, April 15 at 7:30pm
Weekday ticket prices - General Admission: $27.50; Generous Admission: $37.50
Weekend ticket prices - General Admission $35; Generous Admission $45
Student discounts available by request. For details: firstname.lastname@example.org
For tickets, please call (818) 710-6306 or reserve online at www.iscla.org
#PrivateLives #NoelCoward #ISCStudio