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Private Lives transfers to West End

Anna Chancellor (Amanda) and Toby Stephens (Elyot) in Private Lives at Chichester Festival Theatre. Photo by Tristram Kenton.

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE CRITICALLY acclaimed Chichester Festival Theatre production of Noël Coward’s Private Lives is transferring to the West End – to the Gielgud Theatre, where it runs for a limited season from June 22 to September 21, 2013.

Toby Stephens and Anna Chancellor reprise their roles as Elyot Chase and Amanda Prynne. Directed by Jonathan Kent, the cast also includes Anthony Calf as Victor Prynne and Anna-Louise Plowman as Sibyl Chase.

Elyot Chase and Amanda Prynne are glamorous, rich, reckless . . . and divorced. Five years later, their love for one another is unexpectedly rekindled when they take adjoining suites of a Riviera hotel while honeymooning with their new spouses.

This chance encounter instantly reignites their passion, and they fling themselves headlong into a whirlwind of love and lust without a thought for partners present or turbulences past.

Toby Stephens’ theatre credits include Danton’s Death (National Theatre), The Real Thing (Old Vic), A Doll’s House and Betrayal (both for the Donmar Warehouse), the West End production of A Streetcar Named Desire, Coriolanus (RSC) and Phedre (Almeida Theatre and Broadway).

His screen credits include the BBC 2 comedy drama series Vexed, Jane Eyre and Die Another Day. He has also featured in Classic Chandler for BBC Radio 4.

Anna Chancellor’s theatre credits include Chichester Festival Theatre’s South Downs and The Browning Version, which transferred to the West End in 2012, The Last of the Duchess (Hampstead Theatre), Creditors (Donmar Warehouse and Broadway), The Observer (National Theatre), Boston Marriage (Donmar Warehouse and West End), King Lear (RSC, London and Japan) and Stanley (National Theatre and Broadway), for which she received an Olivier Award nomination).

Her screen work includes Pramface, The Hour (for which she received a BAFTA nomination), Four Weddings and a Funeral and Pride and Prejudice.

Anthony Calf’s Chichester Festival Theatre credits include The Deep Blue Sea and Wallenstein. His credits elsewhere include My Fair Lady (Sheffield Crucible), Death and the Maiden (West End), The White Guard, The Power of Yes, Gethsemane, Never So Good, The False Servant and The Madness of George III (National Theatre), and Rock ‘n’ Roll, Neverland and My Night with Reg (Royal Court Theatre),

On television, he has appeared in Restless, Upstairs Downstairs, Holby City and New Tricks.

Anna-Louise Plowman’s theatre work includes Three Tall Women (Oxford Playhouse), Five Women Wearing The Same Dress (Vital Theatre Co, NYC), Thirst ( Provincetown Playhouse, NYC) and Musical Scenes (Clod Ensemble).

Plowman has also appeared on television in Holby City and New Tricks, as well as Cambridge Spies and Dr Who.

Jonathan Kent was Artistic Director of the Almeida Theatre for 12 years. He has directed at the National Theatre, in the West End and on Broadway. He also has an international opera career and in Britain in the last year directed Fairy Queen at Glyndebourne and The Flying Dutchman at ENO.

For Chichester Festival Theatre, Kent directed A Month in the Country and, just last year Sweeney Todd, which transferred to the West End, winning the Evening Standard Ned Sherrin Award for Best Musical.

Noël Coward’s other plays include Hay Fever, Design for Living, Present Laughter and Blithe Spirit. His screenwriting credits include In Which We Serve (which he also co-directed) and Brief Encounter.

Private Lives is produced in the West End by CFT Enterprises, Old Vic Productions, Duncan Weldon and APT Productions. Design is by Anthony Ward.

NB: 250 top price tickets will be made available for Private Lives each week at just £10 per ticket. 170 tickets per week will be released for general sale in May. The remaining tickets will be day seats, 10 per performance, released at the Gielgud Box Office from 10am on the day of the performance.

Chichester Festival Theatre’s Artistic Director, Jonathan Church, said:

“We are absolutely delighted that the final production staged during our 50th anniversary season is transferring to the West End. The passionate on-stage chemistry between Anna Chancellor and Toby Stephens captivated audiences and critics here last summer.

Private Lives thrilled us by appealing to a younger Chichester audience, so it’s particularly exciting that we’re able to offer daily top price tickets at £10 for the West End production in association with Time Out. This will be a great opportunity for as wide an audience as possible to see the sparks fly in Jonathan Kent’s glorious production.”

And Joseph Smith, Executive Producer for Old Vic Productions, said:

“We are very excited to be working with Jonathan Church and all at Chichester Festival Theatre in bringing this cracking production of Private Lives, Noël Coward’s greatest comedy, to The Gielgud theatre this summer. Audiences of all ages will be enthralled by Toby Stephens and Anna Chancellor performing at the top of their game in Jonathan Kent’s witty, elegant, sexy production.”

Prior to Private Lives, The Audience, starring Helen Mirren as The Queen, runs at the Gielgud Theatre from March 5 (previews from February 15) to June 15, 2013.