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Private Lives (Modern Classics) Paperback – April 13, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0413744906 ISBN-10: 0413744906

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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Classics
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Methuen Drama (April 13, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0413744906
  • ISBN-13: 978-0413744906
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.3 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,191,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'Noel Coward's glittering gem' Sam Marlowe, The Times, 28.1.09 'The brilliance of Coward's conceit... is as sparkling as it ever was.' John Nathan, Jewish Chronicle, 30.1.09 'The play is marriage in three parts, but with better jokes and an interval.' Nina Caplan, Time Out London, 5.2.09 'In a word - go.' Dominic Cavendish, Daily Telegraph, 3.3.11

About the Author

Noel Coward made his name as a playwright with The Vortex (1924), in which he also appeared. His numerous other successful plays included Hay Fever, Private Lives, Design for Living, and Blithe Spirit. During the war he wrote screenplays such as Brief Encounter (1944) and This Happy Breed (1942). His volumes of verse, autobiography and letters have all been published to acclaim by Methuen Drama. Coward was knighted in 1970 and died three years later in Jamaica.

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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jim K. on December 15, 2009
Format: Audio CD
After having bought & listened to LA Theatre Works Audio production of "Private Lives" I can say this - it's terrible. The script has been cut, the actors are way over the top, there is an incessant beeping sound in the background and it is not funny in the least. Forget it.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on April 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
This farcical look at marriage, first produced in 1930, starred the author, Noel Coward, and the legendary Gertrude Lawrence. The play's recent revivals in London and New York, however, attest to its incisive wit and its razor-sharp social observation, both of which transcend the 1930s setting and give continuing life and relevance to the play.

Elyot Chase, five years divorced, has just married a young bride, Sybil, with whom he is on his honeymoon at a French seaside resort. His former wife, Amanda Prynne, has also just remarried, and, coincidentally, she and Victor, her new husband, are also honeymooning--in the room next door. Almost immediately, Elyot and Amanda rediscover each other on their adjoining balconies, find themselves drawn to each other, and abandon their new spouses at the resort to run away together to Paris.

The major action of the play shows us the relationship of Elyot and Amanda in Paris as they try to sustain their rekindled love and avoid the pitfalls that destroyed their original marriage. Both are passionate, uninhibited, live-in-the-moment people, and both have married very traditional, predictable, and conformist new spouses. When Sybil and Victor eventually discover the lovers, who, by now, are fighting and even engaging in fisticuffs, Coward makes his point about the nature of relationships, their fragility and/or what makes them endure.

Though the play is set in the 1930s, Coward so accurately captures human traits and behavior that the play is still delighting audiences today. In his opening scene, for example, he shows Sybil subjecting new husband Elyot to a mood-killing interrogation about his former wife.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 23, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is the first of Noel Coward's plays I have listened to, and I was "quite" unimpressed. The script IS sometimes witty to be sure, and all actors did a marvelous job, but overall the story is "quite" trivial, and the dialog sounds like an imitation of Oscar Wilde, but without his depth, and with much much much less sense of humor. Overall, "quite" disappointing. Four-five truly witty jokes and a lot of "quite"s do not "quite" make the trick. All the LA Theater productions of Wilde's plays are "quite", no, actually VASTLY superior.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. Albin TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 8, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is often regarded as Coward's best play. Supposedly written as a vehicle for Coward and his friend, the great Gertrude Lawrence, it displays the wit and stagecraft which made Coward famous. As a serious work, however, it is limited. It is clear that Coward was aiming to investigate the irrational nature of love, sort of a modern day Twelfth Night. Coward's plot and characters are not able to sustain this burden. Even when performed by excellent actors in first rate productions, it still comes across as a skillful farce and not much more.
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