"Highly recommended—They are, to put it mildly, a tremendously self-absorbed and restless quartet of lovers. Yet despite their advanced degrees in narcissism, it is easy to make excuses for the characters in Noel Coward's madly smart romantic farce, Private Lives. After all, they are so insanely witty, so grandly neurotic, so flamboyantly and comically self-dramatizing. They also dress exceedingly well, earning extra points for stylishness. And as realized by the sublimely gifted cast now onstage at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, they are, indeed, all but irresistible in their utter ridiculousness. This production might well be Griffin's best work since The Color Purple."
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"A smoldering fun romp... This is priceless, elegant and sophisticated humor at its finest and not to be missed. The play Private Lives by Noel Coward is one of the great stage stories so often talked about, but seldom produced in the grandeur setting it deserves. All the more reason Private Lives is such a perfect fit at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Witty, wicked, funny and foppish, Private Lives is every bit the hit it was when it debuted on Broadway in 1931. And in the midst of winter's grip, audiences deserve some clever, silly fun." Read the entire article
"A smart, sophisticated, engaging and thoroughly enjoyable production... Griffin's fresh approach will deepen the show's themes and deliver them to your door. Perfectly splendid! Tracy Michelle Arnold offers a veritable plethora of compensatory brilliance. Chaon Cross and Tim Campbell are strikingly sympathetic in their mutual pique. These roles are typically thankless affairs, but Griffin and these pitch-perfect actors turn them into nuanced, normative characters and apt representatives of our less-than-dramatic selves."
"Griffin's production features a quartet of finely tuned, masterfully paced performances. Cross and Campbell are stolidly reasonable as the unhappily abandoned new loves, setting the conventional tone against which Arnold's Amanda and Sella's Elyot take flight. The latter pair gracefully inhabits the playwright's neurotic ideal, oscillating between dreamy lassitude and frenetic bickering."
"What a brilliant stroke for Chicago Shakespeare Theater! Experiencing Coward in a theater built for the Bard where the play is the thing makes for a remarkably satisfying contrast in playwrights of different centuries who are above all, wordsmiths. We are helped along by the elegant setting, a huge, pale moon suspended above all, plenty of champagne and even Coward sing-alongs, with intimacy that is enhanced by a slight rotation of the circular stage to keep all of the action so close you not only feel it, you can practically touch it. Even the physical comedy is delivered with superb timing that manages to knock us out almost as devastatingly as it nearly does the characters." Read the entire article
"In the current production of Private Lives directed flawlessly by Gary Griffin, we are treated to the best of story tellers, a creative director and a sparkling cast. In the last five or so years, Chicago audiences have been treated to several revivals, but none better than what CST has put before us. Griffin couldn't have put a better cast on this stage. While all four of the actors do a superb job of making these characters real, the weight of the storyline falls hard on Mr. Sella and Ms Arnold, who are up to the task, and Sella plays the role as if he were indeed Coward himself. If you have never seen a Noel Coward play, make it a point to get to Chicago Shakespeare Theater so you can be exposed to one of the most brilliant wordsmith's of our time. I suggest you hurry to the box office for this one!"
"Sella and Arnold buzz with realistic tension shared by two people torn between love and hate. Director Gary Griffin places the action in full view, offering a true theater-in-the-round experience. In an almost imperceptible way at first, the stage rotates, giving everyone a unique view and also adding to the tension, especially as it spins faster during peak parts. Chaon Cross and Tim Campbell shine in a riotous third act, when chaos reigns and the audience really roars."
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