In NewsBath

A brand new staging of Noël Coward’s gloriously entertaining Private Lives opens at the Theatre Royal Bath, appearing from Thursday 28th October to Saturday 6th November as The Nigel Havers Theatre Company launches its inaugural production, directed by Christopher Luscombe.

Private Lives stars Olivier Award-winning Patricia Hodge (Miranda, Roadkill, Rumpole of the Bailey) as Amanda and Nigel Havers (Coronation Street, Finding Alice, Chariots of Fire), ever suave and thoroughly charming, as Elyot; the role taken by Noël Coward himself in the original production in 1930. The cast is completed by Dugald Bruce-Lockhart (Brookside, Trust) as Victor, Natalie Walter (I May Destroy You, Babes in the Wood) as Sibyl and Aïcha Kossoko (Casualty, Skins) as Louise. 

Noël Coward’s dazzling comic masterpiece is both a scintillatingly witty and scathingly vitriolic study of the rich and reckless in love. Elyot and Amanda, who were once married to each other, find themselves in adjoining rooms in the same hotel on the French coast, both on honeymoon with their new partners. Their initial horror quickly evaporates as, within no time, they’re sharing cocktails and a romantic serenade. But when they daringly elope to Amanda’s Paris flat their lust thaws as quickly as it had reignited.

Nigel Havers said: “I’m so glad I’ve got my own company and for our first production I’ve chosen Private Lives as I’ve never done it before. In fact, this is the first time I’ve ever done a play by Noël Coward and I couldn’t be more excited especially as I’ve got my favourite actress, Patricia Hodge, to play Amanda. The whole point of the theatre is to be entertained and I want audiences to have a really great time”.  

Patricia Hodge’s extensive stage credits include His Dark Materials, Dandy Dick and Money, for which she won an Olivier Award at the National Theatre. She has appeared as Margaret Thatcher in The Falklands Play, starred as Phyllida Erskine-Brown in Rumpole of the Bailey and, in 2007 as Betty, the wife of tycoon Robert Maxwell, in the BBC drama Maxwell opposite David Suchet. Her television and film roles also include Penny, Miranda’s mother, in BBC1’s comedy series Miranda; Ursula Thorpe in A Very English Scandal; Mrs Pelham in Downton Abbey; Mary Fisher in The Life and Loves of a She-Devil and Jemima Shore in Jemima Shore Investigates. Her previous appearances at the Theatre Royal Bath include Relative Values in 2013 prior to the West End; Calendar Girls and The Clean House in 2008; Noises Off in 2001 and Separate Tables in 1993. Her many West End theatre appearances include The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, which played Bath in 1994; Heartbreak House; and Noel and Gertie, for which she received an Olivier Award nomination.  

Nigel Havers’ many film roles include Lord Andrew Lindsay in the Academy Award-winning Chariots of Fire, for which he received a BAFTA nomination; Ronny in the Academy Award-nominated A Passage to India; Dr Rawlins in Empire of the Sun; David Niven in The Life and Death of Peter Sellers and Bob Jones in The Whistle Blower. His television work includes lead roles in the hit series The Charmer, Upstairs Downstairs, Don’t Wait Up, Dangerfield, Manchild and, in America, Brothers and Sisters. He played Lewis Archer in 182 episodes of Coronation Street, Lord Hepworth in Downton Abbey, Tony Pebble in The Life of Rock with Brian Pern, Stanley Keen in Benidorm, and, most recently, Roger in Finding Alice and General Ransom in All Creatures Great & Small. On stage, he has performed with the RSC, National Theatre, in the West End and nationwide. Nigel’s many previous performances at Bath’s Theatre Royal include Ricochet in 1993; Art in 2000, 2003 and 2018; Rebecca in 2005; Single Spies in 2008; Basket Case in 2011; The Importance of Being Earnest in 2014 and Jack and the Beanstalk in 2015. 

Dugald Bruce-Lockhart has appeared on stage as Michael Gove in The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson at London’s Park Theatre and played David Cameron in The Three Lions at St James Theatre and the Edinburgh Festival, for which he was nominated for Best Actor in The Stage Awards. His theatre credits also include Mamma Mia! in the West End, Wonderland at Hampstead Theatre, Richard Hannay in The 39 Steps on UK tour and, for Ed Hall’s multi award-winning Propeller Theatre Company, he has performed in Henry V, The Comedy of Errors and Richard III. Dugald last appeared at the Theatre Royal Bath in The Deep Blue Sea in 2008. His film and television credits include The Crown, Hotel Babylon, Foyle’s War, The Bill, Trust, The Demon Headmaster, Hart’s War, Brookside and Wycliffe.

Natalie Walter recently played Francine in the BBC hit drama I May Destroy You. Her television credits also include the role of Caralyn Monroe in Babes in the Wood, Doctor Who, the CBBC series Horrible Histories, Ruth Rendell Mysteries, Bloods and Jonathan Creek. Her theatre credits include The 39 Steps in the West End, Hay Fever at Chichester Festival Theatre, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Love’s Labour’s Lost for the RSC, Pack of Lies and Smash at the Menier Chocolate Factory and Jerusalem at the Watermill Theatre. Natalie last performed at the Theatre Royal Bath in A Little Hotel On The Side in 2013. 

Aïcha Kossoko’s theatre credits include Josie Rourke's staging of The Vote at the Donmar Warehouse; Antony & Cleopatra at Chichester Festival Theatre and Liverpool Playhouse; The Taming of the Shrew for the RSC; and Welcome To Thebes and The Observer at the National Theatre. Her screen credits include the films The Fever and Claude Chabrol’s La comédie du pouvoir, and, on television, Skins, In Deep, Coronation Street, Casualty and EastEnders. She also performed in BBC Radio 4’s dramatisation of The Number One Ladies Detective Agency.

Private Lives is directed by Christopher Luscombe, with set and costume designs by Simon Higlett, lighting design by Mark Jonathan, music by Nigel Hess, sound design by Jeremy Dunn, fight direction by Malcolm Ranson and casting by Sarah Bird.

Director Christopher Luscombe is an associate artist of the RSC, where his productions of Love’s Labour’s Lost and Much Ado About Nothing, transferred to the West End. He began his career as an actor, performing with the RSC, the National Theatre and in the West End. In August 2019, The Argument, marked the 21st production Christopher had directed at Bath’s Theatre Royal; the first being The Shakespeare Revue in 1996, which he also co-devised. His productions of Alan Bennett’s Enjoy and The Madness of George III opened in Bath before transferring to the West End. His staging of Nell Gwynn for Shakespeare’s Globe also played Bath and won the 2016 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy in the West End. Christopher’s production of The Rocky Horror Show, which last visited the Theatre Royal in 2019, continues to tour nationwide.

Private Lives appears at the Theatre Royal Bath from Thursday 28th October to Saturday 6th November. Tickets are on sale at the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844 and online at




Nobody has commented on this post yet, why not send us your thoughts and be the first?

Leave a Reply