Paul Gross & Kim Cattrell in Private Lives. Photo credit by Cylla von Tiedemann
When I go to the theatre I always have a few barometers to know if I"m really enjoying the show, most usually involve some kind of consistant conversation in my head about aspects of the show., the set, the acting, the direction, etc.
But with PRIVATE LIVES, I didn't think about anything. When intermission came, I couldn't recall one thought I had had during the first half of the show. Surprised I quickly analyzed why and realized it was because I was completely engaged with the action on stage.
Totally. Completely. EnPaulgrossed.
I was so present with the action unfolding on stage and with Noel Coward's excellent quips (Ex. "It doesn't suit a woman to be promiscuous!" "No, it doesn't suit men for women to be promiscuous!"), that I scarcely thought about a thing.
The old woman living inside of me loves a good farce; they're hysterical and they always make me remember why I love the theatre (farces on film never work out, "Clue" being maybe the only exception). Across the board, the acting was fantastic - the right amount of seriousness and absurdity, the sets were gorgeous, creative and functional, the costumes made me want to immediately check out vintage shops in my neighbourhood, and the direction was spot-on. What more could you want?
Oft quoted Noel Coward, once said "Work is much more fun than fun". In this instance, I have to disagree. I sat in the audience, did absolutely zero work, including thinking any thoughts, and had one of the most fun nights at the theata' I've had in ages. Thank you PRIVATE LIVES for reminding me that live theatre is fun, accessible and gorgeous.
PRIVATE LIVES is playing now until October 30 at the Royal Alexandra Theatre ( 260 King St. W.) For tickets, visit www.mirvish.com/ticketking/shows/privatelives
Today Mirvish announced that in addition to Kim Cattrall, the cast of their upcoming show PRIVATE LIVES (opens Sept. 17), will also star Paul Gross. This is exciting to me for a few reasons.
1. I love a good farce. Those who know me may find that surprising, but a well-executed farce is hilarious PG-humour that the whole family can enjoy, and sometimes, that's just swell. There's something refreshingly old-fashioned about knee-slapping comedy that's slap-sticky and silly. Laughing for 2 hours at the absurdity of life is always on the to-do list.
2. Torontonians don't have to rush to New York to see a Broadway-calibre show starring celebrities. I realize there are mixed emotions surrounding Hollywood-esque celebrities on the stage, but it's a theatrical reality so at this point you're either on the bus or you're off it, but either way, you need to get used to it. It's about time Toronto's theatre scene cashed in (yup - cash, as in made money from our art) on our talented, high-profile actors and exploited them to get people to the theatre. I mean there are only so many shows Colm Feore can do.
3. Hollywood North needs to celebrate our stars and our star system! We have a PLUTHORA of talented actors and we need to celebrate them! Applaud them! And we need to raise them up to increase their star factor so that more Canadian actors, like Paul Gross, feel appreciated on their native turf, and so put up with poor royalties to stay here and make a living. This in turn, can change our way of thinking towards Canadian talent and, in turn, hopefully change the mindset of Canadian talent as well.
I'm over the actor brain-drain that's happening Due South of us and it's initiatives like Mirvish's that will aid in abating it. If the show also happens to turn a profit by getting the public out to a highly-regarded play starring 2 of Canada's most high-profile actors, then that's also aces in my book.
PRIVATE LIVES starring Kim Cattrall and Paul Gross is at the Royal Alexandra theatre from
Sept. 17 - Oct. 30.