Thursday, 18 February 2010

Mr Darcy meets Sex and the City

They are both renowned for playing characters who are fit to bursting with red hot passion. One is perhaps more fond of getting about it in a more reserved manner asking for the honour of a hand before getting down to business, whereas the other has a more direct approach such as serving sushi on her naked body for Valentines. However both actors Matthew Macfadyen and Kim Cattrall leave their infamous past characters behind taking only the raw passion with them as they embark on an explosive production of Noel Coward's Private Lives.

I was fortunate enough to see this fast selling out play, directed by five time Olivier award winner Richard Eyre, at the Bath Royal Theatre before it's impending debut in the west end. Noel Coward's classic comedy of manners depicts the tale of a glamorous couple who were previously entangled together in a dramatic love/hate marriage from which they divorced. As fate would have it they meet again on the eve of their respective second honeymoons over the wall of their adjacent balconies and as rekindled sparks fly they impetuously elope to Paris. However in the heat of the moment sparks, insults and even goldfish fly across the set as the couple fall back into their tempestuous pattern of fierce amusing arguments and ironic tender reconciliations.

As soon as Kim Cattrall stepped out as Amanda I was half expecting a Samantha Jone's style repertoire with heavy innuendos, arched eyebrows and flirtatious feline smiles. Yet she gave so much more and played Amanda with more sensitivity and class and delivered her put downs with such dryness and acidity that she often got the loudest laughs. Cattrall's elegance and beauty in stunning floor length 1930's gowns was something to be marvelled at and it was completely believable that she should entice her former husband back into a headlong romantic adventure.

Matthew Macfayden who played Elyot, Amanda's ex husband did a humorous portrayal of a man worn out by the trials of a passionate and a high maintenance woman full of dry, cynical Oscar wilde-esque quips only to completely loose it for the same woman again.

Although the small cast was exceptional and Macfayden delivered some particularly throwaway cutting remarks throughout the play, it was Cattrall who enthralled her audience and dazzled them with her looks, charm, expressiveness and absolute comic value. Just a minor celeb crush developing here!

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