Hey, I have a blog!
Okay, okay, I’ve been pretty conspicuously absent from the ol’ Visitorium of late, and all apologies for that. There’s this whole school thing going on right now, and that’s another post in itself which I may or may not write ever, but suffice it to say my mental energies are being pretty well accounted for most hours of the day lately. But even a hard-workin’ student like myself can find the time for some shenanigans every now and then, which is how me and my fellow OTS gangster Kathryn managed to get out to the Gladstone on Friday night for the first show of their 2013-14 season. Having not been back myself since the summer ONE NIGHT ONLY series, it was nice to get back to the ‘Stone for the latest from Plosive productions, this time out going for a little bit of Noel Coward and PRIVATE LIVES. This show had some solid players in it, and Plosive has been proudly promoting it as ‘the second funniest play ever written’, so I was ready for some good laffin’.
We start out in a resort villa overlooking the sea, where a lovely yacht is apparently perpetually casting enchanting ripples of light. Enter Elyot (David Whiteley) and his blushing new bride Sybil (Brownyn Steinberg), trying to enjoy their honeymoon. Sybil seems a touch too…feminine for Eyiot’s tastes, and read into THAT what you will, but they struggle along well enough. Until we find that Elliot’s ex, the striking and strong-willed Amanda (Alix Sideris) is occupying the adjoining room, with HER newlywed husband Victor (Steve Martin), a prim and proper Victorian gent if ever I saw one. Inevitably, Elyot and Amanda discover one another, and immediately try in vain to get their spouses to agree to flee the vicinity immediately. When that backfires spectacularly, they are pushed to extreme measures…namely, talking to each other. The resulting mess takes up the rest of the play to deal with, and is really still a work in progress when the curtain falls.
PRIVATE LIVES was an interesting one for me…not as laugh-out-loud hilarious as I’d been expecting, tho there certainly is much merriment to be had. But it felt more melodramatic than anything (not a slam, I dig me some melodrama), as our star-crossed lovers try to rekindle their old flame with disastrous results. All performances were strong, tho I’d have to give a bit of an edge to Alix and Steve as Amanda and Victor as my fav’rits early on for some dynamite onstage chemistry. Steve Martin later on gets some of the better scene-stealing laughs of the show, as I’ve learned to expect from Mr.Martin by now, and he didn’t disappoint. Camille Beauchamp rounds out the cast as the maid Louise, who would seemingly rather be anywhere than tending to these self-absorbed fops. And yay for Brownyn in a wig!
It’s a fun show indeed, with a couple of rejoinders…that balcony set is a bit of an eyesore, it must be said, although the indoor decorations in acts II and III are a major improvement. And some of the humour is a bit dangerously dated…trying to stripmine domestic abuse for comedy is a tricky business in this day and age, and those moments only half work at best. But director Craig Walker pulls it all together as best he can, and we come out with a pretty darn good comedy of ill-manners to kick off the season. Looking forward to more goodness from the Gladstone as the season unfolds! Peace, love and soul,
Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)