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Fisticuffs and reignited love; LIVE.

Byline: DEIRDRE O'BRIEN

PRIVATE LIVES Gielgud Theatre, London CAN'T live with them, can't live without them, is the dilemma at the heart of Noel Coward's classic comedy from 1930.

Divorced couple Elyot and Amanda are horrified to find themselves on adjoining hotel balconies while on honeymoon with their new spouses - annoying Sibyl and boring Victor. But their passion is reignited and they abscond to Paris, where the spectacular arguments begin.

There's vicious humour in the bone-dry exchanges between smooth Toby Stephens, as Elyot, and Anna Chancellor, who exudes rangy elegance as fiery Amanda. They put real venom into the fight scenes, chucking objects and rolling around in fights, but are also convincing in their tender moments. With gorgeous costumes and sets, it's all lovely to look at. But it's the brittle brilliance of the ageless script that keeps you guffawing.

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Classic... Anna and Toby
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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion, Column
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 14, 2013
Words:146
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