“Elyot and Amanda: All Alone” from Noel Coward’s “Private Lives”
Playhouse on Park
Playhouse on Park is currently presenting a video stream of “Elyot and Amanda: All Alone” from Noel Coward’s “Private Lives.” This video is a delight and absolutely charming. Starring two perfectly cast stars, Ezra Barnes and Veanne Cox have wonderful chemistry and they certainly make the most out of Noel Coward’s sophisticated dialogue. Essentially, “Elyot and Amanda: All Alone” is Act II of “Private Lives,” which Playhouse on Park got permission to stage as a stand-alone piece especially for this occasion. In this time of this awful pandemic, with theaters closed throughout the world, a video stream of something as entertaining as “Elyot and Amanda: All Alone” is most welcome.
As astutely directed (under very unusual circumstances) by Sean Harris, this show is actually presented in Ezra Barnes’ real-life apartment. Complete with a grand piano, a couch and a record player, “Elyot and Amanda: All Alone” has been nicely filmed, with multiple cameras. Truth to tell, the whole video runs under an hour (including an introduction by the two stars and a post-script of behind-the-scenes footage), so this show is really a bit of a lark, but it is so entrancing and acted so well that it is easy to fall under its spell. I should also mention that even those who are unfamiliar with the complete play of “Private Lives” should still be able to have a good time watching this video that Playhouse on Park is currently offering.
What truly makes this play work so well is the enjoyable banter between the two leads, who genuinely feel like an actual couple. Ezra Barnes and Veanne Cox have captured just the right style and sparkling wit to get the most out of all of Noel Coward’s delicious lines in the play. What’s even better, with the grand piano being present, the actors also get to play and sing together. They both sound terrific. “Elyot and Amanda: All Alone” has its share of back and forth arguments, so there is a continual tension in the play, but the director has staged this show in a manner lighter than air. This is important, because too much of any of the show’s emotional outbursts would spoil the balance of the piece. Happily, this production walks a fine line between friendly playfulness and deeper conflicts and stays on course throughout.
Ezra Barnes is just terrific as Elyot and Veanne Cox is absolutely perfect as Amanda— their performances are the whole show and it is great to spend an hour or so with them. Until there are better times in this world, and there can be live theater again, video streams like “Elyot and Amanda: All Alone” are to be treasured. And, while it would be great to see these stars in the complete play of “Private Lives” (hopefully, at some point), this video stream by Playhouse on Park should do just nicely and should be savored. Indeed, “Elyot and Amanda: All Alone” is almost guaranteed to leave you with a big smile on your face.
“Elyot and Amanda: All Alone” will be able to be streamed at home until February 28, 2021. And it must be said that this show has been wonderfully filmed for home viewing. For more information and tickets to stream the show, please visit www.playhouseonpark.org.
Photo: Veanne Cox and Ezra Barnes