The Theater: Knockabout Noel

PRIVATE LIVES by NOEL COWARD

It is always dismaying to see a gifted actor or actress destroy a well-earned reputation through arrant self-indulgence. In the past two or three years, Britain's Maggie Smith has embarked on this melancholy course, and the dispiriting results have been on livid display on the stage of Los Angeles' Ahmanson Theater for the past five weeks. Four years ago on this very stage, in The Beaux Stratagem, Maggie Smith spoke English as if it were the eighth wonder of the world. Today, as Amanda in Private Lives, she...

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