Private Lives

Private LivesNoël Coward’s timeless masterpiece of manners, Private Lives – a sparkling comedy about love, lust and marriage, celebrates the opening of Melbourne Theatre Company’s 2014 season at The Sumner Theatre.

“This Private Lives will look and feel like a classic Coward experience: supremely elegant, sumptuously designed, and devilishly witty,” says director Sam Strong.

“But we want to surprise as well as satisfy with this new production. We want to focus on the substance as well as the style of Private Lives. We want to realise the spirit of Coward for a 2014 audience, turning up the volume on his symmetrical plotting and use of music, and unearthing the darker and more contemporary play that lurks beneath the glittering exterior.”

Amanda has just married Victor. Elyot has just married Sibyl. But when Amanda and Elyot, who were once married to each other, discover they’re both honeymooning in the same hotel in France, sparks fly as their passion re-ignites.

Without a backward glance, Amanda and Elyot abscond to Paris leaving their hapless spouses behind. Just how long will this explosive whirlwind of love and lust survive when Victor and Sibyl arrive to claim their beloveds?

As a writer, composer, director, actor and singer, Noël Coward (1899–1973) was renowned for his wit, flamboyance and chic style. His prodigious output spanned six decades including more than 50 plays, some of which have been adapted for screen, and more than 300 songs. He started writing in his teens and was an overnight sensation with his play The Vortex.

By the thirties he was famous on both sides of the Atlantic. Many of his works including Hay Fever, Private Lives, Design for Living, Present Laughter and Blithe Spirit have endured as theatre classics. He was knighted in 1970 and the following year received a Tony Award for distinguished achievement in theatre.

Director: Sam Strong  Cast: Lucy Durack, Leon Ford, Julie Forsyth, Nadine Garner, John Leary  Set & Costume Designer: Tracy Grant Lord  Lighting Designer: Paul Jackson  Composer & Musical Director: Mathew Frank  Assistant Director: Tanya Dickson  Choreographer: Andrew Hallsworth  Fight Choreographer: Scott Witt

Private Lives
The Sumner – Southbank Theatre, 140 Southbank Boulevard, Southbank (Melbourne)
Season: 25 January to 8 March 2014
Bookings: (03) 8688 0800 or online at:

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Leon Ford and Lucy Durack