Finding the humor in dysfunctional relationships

Laura Gonzalez / Roundup

Witty lines, relationship drama and extensive dialogues are the main elements of the Pierce College adaptation of Noel Coward’s irreverent comedy, “Private Lives.”

The play analyzes relationships in a satirical tone and is full of amusing fights between a divorced couple who can’t live with each other, but can’t live without each other.

Kudos to the director for choosing a talented cast that made the characters credible.

Anthony Cantrell and Trina Marguerite play the characters of Elyot and Amanda convincingly.

They are both passionate and have a lot of chemistry on stage.

The fights between them are very physical and amusing. The audience has a big laugh when they argue, and their reconciliations are equally dramatic and ludicrous. It is obvious this couple is bound to engage in a quarrel continuously.

The secondary cast members do an impeccable job too. Jessica Wolford as Sybil plays the part of the naïve, sweet and somehow immature wife like a pro.

Paul Michael Nieman’s humorous characterization of Victor Prynne leaves the audience wishing he had a bigger part.

Although their actuation is satisfying, they fail miserably when it comes to trying to utter the English accent the characters are supposed to have. At times it takes away from their performance. But it is fair to say that the men are better with the accent than the women; there are times when Marguerite’s accent sounds more east European than British.

Apart from that, the play achieves the spectators’ expectations and proves once more the art department has gifted students committed to present a great show.

Gene Putnam’s scenic design sets the ambience and transports the audience to France in 1930, where the story takes place.

The three-act play is dialogue heavy, which can be a little exhausting, but the cast and the beautiful set make the two hours go smoothly.

Overall, The play is funny and entertaining. It is a great alternative to spend a couple of hours making fun of trivial and common relationship clashes.

Trina Marguerite as Amanda and Anthony Cantrell as Elyot in “Private Lives.” (Alina Popov / Roundup)