A major revival of Noël Coward’s sparkling romantic comedy, Private Lives, tours to Bath starring Tom Chambers (Top Hat, Holby City, Strictly Come Dancing), Laura Rogers (Tipping the Velvet, Bad Girls), Charlotte Ritchie (Call the Midwife, Fresh Meat) and Richard Teverson (Downton Abbey, Handbagged). Directed by Tom Attenborough, this new production of one of the greatest plays of all time appears at the Theatre Royal from Monday 14th to Saturday 19th March.
Whilst honeymooning in the South of France with their new partners, divorcees Elyot and Amanda are appalled to find themselves facing each other across adjacent hotel balconies, but their chance meeting leads to an immediate rekindling of their insatiable feelings for each other. Losing sight of what drove them apart five years ago – and without a care for scandal or their new spouses, Sibyl and Victor – they hurl themselves into another whirlwind of love, lust and loathing.
Noël Coward wrote his sophisticated comedy of manners in just three days; full of razor sharp dialogue, the play marked the peak of his comic prowess. When Private Lives received its World Premiere in 1930, Coward himself originated the role of Elyot. Elegantly decadent and scintillatingly witty, Private Lives remains one of the most entertaining plays ever written.
Tom Chambers stars as the loveable and charming Elyot Chase. On television, Tom is best known for his leading roles as Sam Strachan in over 100 episodes of Holby City, Max Tyler in Waterloo Road and Inspector Sullivan in Father Brown. In 2008, Tom received acclaim for his skills as a dancer when he won the sixth season of Strictly Come Dancing. On stage, he recently starred in the West End productions of White Christmas at the Dominion Theatre, and the Olivier and Evening Standard Award-winning musical Top Hat, for which he was nominated for the Olivier and WhatsOnStage Awards for Best Male Performer in a Musical.
The unconventional and vivacious Amanda Prynne, is played by Laura Rogers. Her television credits include Bad Girls, The Sins, New Tricks, Doctor Who, Missing, Law and Order, Twelfth Night and Midsomer Murders. Laura’s stage credits include the World Premiere of Tipping the Velvet at the Lyric Hammersmith; The 39 Steps, Pressure and Bad Girls – The Musical in the West End; An Ideal Husband, Blue Remembered Hills and Hay Fever at Chichester Festival Theatre; and Masterpieces at London’s Royal Court. She has also performed extensively at Shakespeare’s Globe. In the West Country, Laura has appeared in The Three Musketeers and The Barber of Seville at the Bristol Old Vic, and Jamaica Inn at the Salisbury Playhouse.
Charlotte Ritchie, who appears as Sibyl Chase, can currently be seen on our television screens playing Barbara Gilbert in BBC1’s Call the Midwife, and as Oregon in the fourth and final series of Channel 4’s Fresh Meat. She also played Hannah in Siblings for BBC 3. Charlotte is a founder member of All Angels, a British classical cross-over choral group formed in 2006. All Angels have released four albums and have sold over a million albums across the world. On stage, she recently performed in One Night In November at Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre.
Richard Teverson, who plays the role of Victor Prynne, was last seen at the Theatre Royal Bath in the acclaimed UK tour of Handbagged in December 2015. His stage work also includes The Winslow Boy and Cause Célèbre at London’s Old Vic; The Doctor’s Dilemma and After The Dance at the National Theatre; Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle & Dick at the New Vic Theatre; and the West End productions of The 39 Steps, When Harry Met Sally, A Woman Of No Importance, and The Lion King. Richard’s screen credits include Downton Abbey, Coalition, Jamaica Inn, The Bletchley Circle, Spies of Warsaw, Dancing on the Edge, Brideshead Revisited, Upstairs Downstairs and Private Peaceful.
Director Tom Attenborough’s previous work includes The Whipping Man at the Theatre Royal Plymouth and on UK Tour; Abigail’s Party at the Theatre Royal Bath and on UK Tour; Hay Fever on tour in Australia; Richard III at East 15; Frimston and Rowett and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare at The Caves, Edinburgh; Port Authority at the Southwark Playhouse; The Shape of Things at the Gallery Soho; and The 24 Hour Plays at London’s Old Vic.
A playwright, composer, actor, author, director, producer and master of wit, Noël Coward remains one of our most distinguished and celebrated icons. Coward had written over fifteen plays by the time he was in his mid-thirties and despite his comparative youth the first of many Coward biographies had already been written. Just some of his many best-loved plays include Hay Fever (1925); Private Lives (1930); Design for Living (1933); Blithe Spirit (1941); Present Laughter (1942); and Relative Values (1951). With the onset of World War II he redefined the spirit of the country in films such as This Happy Breed (1944), In Which We Serve (1942), Blithe Spirit (1945) and Brief Encounter (1945). Ranked as one of the top 100 films ever in a recent BFI poll, In Which We Serve brought him Oscar nominations for Best Writer and Best Picture and he received a special Honorary Academy Award for outstanding production achievement. Noël Coward was knighted in 1970 and died in 1973.
Photo credit: Shaun Webb & Alastair Muir
Private Lives appears at the Theatre Royal Bath from Monday 14th to Saturday 19th March. Tickets are on sale at the Box Office on 01225 448844 or via www.theatreroyal.org.uk