“Of all Coward’s plays, Private Lives remains the most pristine, elegant example of his art.”

– Philip Hoare, Independent 2013 (UK)

The Hudson Village Theatre continues its Games We Play theme with Noel Coward’s hilarious romp, Private Lives, playing August 10 to 28. First staged in 1930, the sparkling, quick-tempo dialogue and deliciously wicked barbs haven’t lost their punch eighty plus years later, though gender politics may have changed somewhat. To drive home that point, as well as add another comedic layer to the already razor-sharp humour, director Matthew Tiffin, HVT’s Artistic Director, puts a 21st century spin on the master wit’s 20th century comedic jewel by reversing the sex of all of the actors’ roles.

This fast-paced, three-act comedy of manners has former couple, Elyot and Amanda, unwittingly book adjoining rooms at the same Côte d’Azur hotel to honeymoon with their new spouses, Sybil and Victor. Soon realizing they’ve made a pair of mistaken marriages, under the cover of night Elyot and Amanda hastily escape their unsuspecting partners. Several days later, the cuckolded twosome discovers the lovers in Amanda’s Parisian pied-à-terre, plunging all four into a most compromising situation in which passions and hilarity mount exponentially.

Coward’s zingers play no favourites, holding the suave Amanda and Elyot up to ridicule as equally as he pokes fun at the more conventional Sybil and Victor, similarly taking pot shots at conventional attitudes about love and faith.

These iconic roles are brought to life by an ensemble featuring some of the brightest local artists. In her HVT debut, the versatile Stefanie Buxton plays the stodgy, rather conservative Victor Prynne, newly wedded to Amanda, a capricious jazz baby played by Brett Watson, who has previously strut the HVT boards, though not in high heels, in local playwright, Trevor Ferguson’s, plays.

Mary Harvey trades in her philandering news anchor role from Hudson’s recent production of The Ladies Foursome for the urbane and sophisticated cad, Elyot Chase, Amanda’s first husband who is about to embark on marriage number two with the naïve Sybil. David Noel, another new face to HVT, though an experienced actor working in film and television since he was fifteen, (Radio-Canada’s Toi et Moi, 30 Vies, and La vie parfaite) channels the rather excitable young bride to perfection. Hudson Shakespeare fans will recognize, Rahul Gandhi, from last year’s outdoor A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in which the recent John Abbot graduate donned female attire to play Helena. In this play, the six-foot plus West Island resident is Louise, the Parisian maid simultaneously puzzled and exasperated with the curious carryings-on of this ridiculous bunch of Brits.

Hudson Village Theatre is located at 28 Wharf Road in Hudson.

For tickets please call the Box Office: 450-458-5361 or email hvtbox@videotron.ca    www.villagetheatre.ca