A Broadway transfer is also in the offing. A show spokesperson said that discussions were continuing "positively" to take the production to New York by mid-2002. But transfer plans hinge on the availability of the show's stars - principals Alan Rickman and Lindsay Duncan along with Emma Fielding and Adam Godley - particularly Rickman who has pressing Harry Potter film commitments.
Rickman and Duncan have teamed up before, in the Royal Shakespeare Company's version of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, for which Duncan won an Olivier. Rickman was Tony-nominated when the play transferred to Broadway in 1986. In Private Lives, the two play estranged divorcees Elyot and Amanda. When the couple find themselves in neighbouring honeymoon apartments in the south of France, their love is rekindled, much to the chagrin of their new spouses, Sibyl and Victor.
Duncan, a respected stage actress, recently starred in Kevin Elyot's Mouth to Mouth in the West End. She appeared in the National's 1997 production of Harold Pinter's The Homecoming and, last year, performed in the Almeida's production of Celebration. On television, she has featured in Stephen Poliakoff's Shooting the Past and Dirty Tricks with Martin Clunes.
Rickman attended RADA in the 1970s, after originally working as a graphic artist, and has performed extensively with repertory and experimental theatre groups. In 1998 he appeared with Helen Mirren in Trevor Nunn's production of Antony and Cleopatra at the National. Other notable stage works include As You Like It (RSC), The Grass Widow (Royal Court) and Hamlet (Riverside Studios). His numerous film credits contain Truly Madly Deeply, Close My Eyes, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Harry Potter.
Director Davies was previously an Associate Director for the National and the RSC. His other UK RSC productions include Macbeth, The Time of Your Life and The Iceman Cometh which transferred to New York. Directing works for the National have included All My Sons, The Crucible and Hedda Gabler.
- by Terri Paddock