REVIEW: Private Lives

(Left to Right) Jeremy Dubin as Elyot and Kelly Mengelkoch as Amanda in Cincinnati Shakespeare’s Production of Noel Coward’s “Private Lives” June 6-29, 2014, directed by D. Lynn Meyers.  Performances are located at CSC’s Theatre , 719 Race Street in downtown Cincinnati.  Tickets are $22-35 and are available online at cincyshakes.com or by calling the box office 513.381.2273.  Photo by Rich Sofranko
(Left to Right) Jeremy Dubin as Elyot and Kelly Mengelkoch as Amanda in Cincinnati Shakespeare’s Production of Noel Coward’s “Private Lives” June 6-29, 2014, directed by D. Lynn Meyers. Performances are located at CSC’s Theatre , 719 Race Street in downtown Cincinnati. Tickets are $22-35 and are available online at cincyshakes.com or by calling the box office 513.381.2273. Photo by Rich Sofranko

And there’s something comfortable about Cincinnati Shakespeare Company; there’s an inclusionary feel to the place . . .the same folks act, serve, volunteer, and attendees are there, it seems, every opening night.  Jennifer Joplin is often behind the bar is one of the warmest personalities in all of Cincinnati theatre.  It’s just nice.

Inherently, a good farcical comedy is anything but comfortable. The best moments come from the awkward suspense of what chaos is about to unfold when discoveries are made or as tension between characters build.

PRIVATE LIVES, then, is a perfectly opposite match. There is no doubt that the audience is comfortable with the cast. Sara Clark, on stage in nearly every show I’ve seen here, is delightfully blonde (yes, blonde!) as the newly married bride “Sylvia” to Jeremy Dubin’s “Elliot.” They are on their honeymoon, but Sylvia is quite preoccupied with Elliot’s ex-wife, “Amanda.”

As luck would have it, Amanda is also on her honeymoon with her new groom played by Brent Vimtrup.  Mayhem ensues and I won’t ruin it for those of you who don’t know the story.

I enjoyed myself very much.  I think we all know that Kelly Mengelkoch can act; she’s moved me to tears more than once.  But who knew she was this funny?  With a  wicked sense of humor she gives sly looks as if she’s having the most fun ever.  Her real life husband, Jeremy Dubin, is equally funny with a smarmy charm.  What a tremendous romp.

This is a well directed show; D. Lynn Meyers has come down the street and over a block or two from Ensemble Theatre to helm this uproarious comedy.  The audience roared with laughter for most of the play and it was certainly a fun atmosphere.

I highly recommend you check out PRIVATE LIVES; the awkward farce meets the pleasant comfort of Cincy Shakes.  I like it.

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