PRIVATE LIVES, in the opinion of most critics, is the likeliest candidate as Noël Coward’s masterpiece. It, along with HAY FEVER, DESIGN FOR LIVING, PRESENT LAUGHTER and BLITHE SPIRIT, admit Coward to the line of great English comic dramatists such as Congreve, Sheridan and Wilde. “With the sole exception of Bernard Shaw, Noël Coward has made the greatest and broadest single contribution to the English-speaking theatre of the 20th Century