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A Funny Tale of Relationships

By CB Wismar, The Lakeville Journal


TheatreWorks New Milford's production of "Private Lives" is a richly funny presentation that enlivens Noel Coward's rapier-sharp script by bringing to the rather intimate theater five actors who are as agile with their lines as they are with their expressions, reactions and physical comedy. 

We may not see ourselves in every scene, but more often than not, the wonderfully clever dialogue reminds us of moments that we have experienced for ourselves. And it will surely make you laugh. 

Long a chestnut of the British and American theaters, "Private Lives" debuted in 1930 in London, quickly made the jump to New York and is so topically fresh that it has been revived seven times on Broadway alone.

Admittedly, the premise may be a bit of a stretch. Two British couples occupy adjoining hotel rooms and share a common terrace balcony at a French resort hotel. The husband of the first couple just happens to be the five-year ex of the wife of second couple. Got that? As you might imagine, mayhem ensues.

All five of the actors in the Honeymoon Stage production are outstanding. That includes Christina Van De Water, who plays the French maid, Louise. Although all of her lines are delivered in French (a bit of a challenge for those who missed that class in high school), the physical comedy with which she enlivens the part makes her reaction to the chaos around her wonderfully articulate.

As for the others, between the seamless, balanced affectation of aristocratic British accents, the capacity to move around a compact stage while upsetting furniture only as ordered by the director, Frank Arcaro, and managing to not miss a rapid-fire line, they mesh like a troupe that has been performing together for years.

Anna Fagan as Sybil Chase and J. Scott Williams as Victor Prynne shine as the second wife and second husband who are unceremoniously dumped as Jonathan Jacobson's Elyot Chase and Vicki Sosbe's Amanda Prynne reunite after five years, discovering to the audience's delight that as much as they can't live with each other - they can't live without each other.

Arcaro's direction is both steady and tolerant. He's got a seasoned troupe on stage and he lets them grow into the parts. He's also credited with the show design, and it works beautifully. 

The rest of the production credits are all worthy of a special round of applause, especially the fight choreography of Kevin Sosbe and Rhonda Schultz, the seamstress.

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