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Theater Review: 'Private Lives' -- 2 stars

Kim Cattrall

Kim Cattrall Credit: Kim Cattrall

Private Lives
2 stars

Come on, everybody: Like it or not, it's time to sit through "Private Lives" again. That, at least, is the feeling produced by this uninspired revival starring "Sex and the City's" Kim Cattrall and Paul Gross, who is best known for the Canadian TV series "Slings and Arrows" and "Due South."

Noel Coward's 1930 screwball comedy is frequently revived because actors love to play Amanda and Elyot, the rich divorcees who are unexpectedly reunited while honeymooning with their new spouses, then impulsively decide to run off together and find themselves feuding all over again.

While Coward's views of men, women and marriage are no longer shocking, "Private Lives" remains an elegant five-character romance with countless witty lines and opportunities for physical comedy. With the right cast and staging, it can still be hilarious.

Yet Richard Eyre's production largely fails to land even the easy laughs. While the first act - in which Amanda and Elyot rekindle their attraction - is still cute, the remainder of the play comes off as stale.

Cattrall makes quite an effort to act differently than she did as the sexually adventurous Samantha on "SATC." But in doing so, she also seems uncomfortable in her role.

On the other hand, Gross makes for a handsome and genuinely suave Elyot, and he has some great moments with Simon Paisley Day and Anna Madeley, who give fully dimensioned performances as Amanda and Elyot's nice but boring new spouses.
The good news is that the next revival will be along soon enough.


If you go: "Private Lives" plays at the Music Box Theater through Feb. 5. 239 W. 45th St., 212-239-6200, privatelivesbroadway.com.

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