Noel Coward Comes to the Rescue in West End

News   Noel Coward Comes to the Rescue in West End The return of Private Lives to the West End will provide some much needed laughs.

The return of Private Lives to the West End will provide some much needed laughs.

Previews of Noel Coward's Private Lives begin on Friday 21st September at the Albery, and will bring with them some much needed laughter to Londoners.

Coward rose to the occasion in the Second World War, producing Blithe Spirit to cheer audiences facing daily danger.

Similarly Private Lives had been written a year after the Stock Market crash that plunged the Western World into the Great Depression: the play, focussing on private lives rather than public issues, provided an ideal antidote to the real world.

With a star cast headed by Alan Rickman and Lindsay Duncan, this production, which has its first night at the Albery, St. Martin's Lane on Oct. 4, is likely to prove why, nearly thirty years after his death, Coward to continues to be so popular. The reason is not so much his versatility - he penned stirring patriotic pieces like Cavalvade, weepies like Brief Encounter (a film based on a short stage play of his) and torrid Freudian dramas like The Vortex, and was an accomplished composer, poet and painter as well as a dramatist - but the simpler one of his ability to make us laugh.

This is clearly something that is in demand at any time but in periods of international tension it is all the more welcome, which is why - as during his lifetime - he is likely to receive renewed recognition now the balloon appears to be going up (to use a wartime phrase). At a time when the West End is under economic threat as a result of the New York disaster, it is possible that Sir Noel will be one of the few beneficiaries. But if he can, as so often, make us laugh, it will be the public that really benefits from his well-observed private lives.