Stevenson Stars in Private Lives, 13 MayDate: 12 March 1999
Juliet Stevenson and Anton Lesser will lead the cast of the National Theatre production of Noel Coward's Private Lives, part of the year-long celebrations marking the centenary of the playwright's birth. This is the first time that the play, first staged in 1930, will be presented at the theatre. The production opens in the RNT's Lyttelton Theatre 13 May (previews from 7 May).
Set in the late 1920s and featuring Coward's trademark quick-witted repartee, the story centres around divorcees Amanda and Elyot who find themselves in the same hotel while on honeymoon with their new spouses. The chance encounter rekindles the couple's old attraction - as well as their antagonism.
Stevenson ('Amanda') is well-known for her various feature and television films, including Truly Madly Deeply, Drowing by Numbers, Cider with Rosie and The Politician's Wife. Her extensive stage credits include numerous productions for the RNT and RSC; recent productions in the West End include Burn This, The Duchess of Malfi and Death and the Maiden, for which she won an Olivier Award for Best Actress.
Lesser ('Elyot') has also appeared in various RNT (Mutabilitie, Wild Oats and The Birthday Party) and RSC productions (Richard III, Troilus and Cressida, The Merry Wives of Windsor and The Taming of the Shrew). He has recently appeared in the West End as 'Serge' in Yasmina Reza's Art.
Actor/director Philip Franks will direct Private Lives, making his directorial debut at the National. His other directorial credits include The Cocktail Party and The Duchess of Malfi, starring Stevenson, at Greenwich and in the West End. As an actor, he also has appeared in a number of RSC and RNT productions and has appeared on British television in Heartbeat, The Darling Buds of May and Martin Chuzzlewit.
Stevenson and Lesser will be joined in the cast by Dominic Rowan ('Victor'), Rebecca Saire ('Sybil') and Darlene Johnson ('Louise'). Private Lives will be designed by Stephen Brimson Lewis, with lighting by Howard Harrison and music by Matthew Scott.