Actor Nigel Havers is launching his own touring company with a new production of Noel Coward’s classic comedy Private Lives, in which he’ll star with Patricia Hodge. The inaugural offering from The Nigel Havers Theatre Company, produced by David Pugh and Theatre Royal Bath Productions, plans to launch a UK-wide tour from Bath on 1 October 2020.
Award-winning theatre producer David Pugh said of the new company:
“Nigel Havers is one of the biggest stars who likes to tour, and in the past, we have had some incredibly successful partnerships, from Art through to Frank McGuinness’s adaptation of Rebecca.
“My suggestion last year to Nigel to form The Nigel Havers Theatre Company was met with a wry smile, but he warmed to the idea and finally agreed that he would take 18 weeks out each year to tour a play, ‘as long as the play is entertaining and, most importantly, ticket prices are accessible to as many people as possible.’”
David continued: “Little did we know last year that this now seems to be more important than ever and, when we are allowed again to safely open theatres, we have to realise theatre can no longer be the luxury item it so often is; theatre should be able to be seen by and be for everybody. Ticket pricing and ticketing charges have become ridiculous. I believe our job is simply to entertain and to as many people as possible and now, out of this crisis, let’s hope we can address this and do just that.”
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, find themselves in adjoining rooms in the same hotel on the French Riviera, both on honeymoon with their new partners. Their initial horror quickly evaporates and soon they’re sharing cocktails and a romantic serenade.
The Olivier Award-winning Patricia Hodge OBE, one of the country’s most loved actresses, plays Amanda. Nigel Havers, ever suave and thoroughly charming, plays Elyot, the role taken by Noël Coward himself in the original production in 1930. Astonishingly, it is the first time Havers has appeared in a Coward play on stage. Dugald Bruce-Lockhart plays Victor and Natalie Walter plays Sibyl.
Private Lives will be directed by Christopher Luscombe, with set and costume designs by Simon Higlett, lighting design by Tim Mitchell and casting by Sarah Bird. The Nigel Havers Theatre Company’s revival is produced by David Pugh and Theatre Royal Bath Productions.
Patricia Hodge’s many theatre credits include A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (Trafalgar Studios), Copenhagen (Chichester Festival Theatre), Travels With My Aunt (Minerva, Chichester), Relative Values (Harold Pinter), Calendar Girls (Noel Coward Theatre), The Country Wife (Theatre Royal Haymarket), His Dark Materials (National), Noises Off (National), Money (National, for which she won the Olivier for Best Supporting Actress) and A Little Night Music (National). Her recent television credits include Ursula Thorpe in A Very English Scandal (BBC), Mrs Pelham in Downton Abbey (ITV) and Penny in Miranda (BBC).
Nigel Havers’s television credits include the soon to be seen Roger in Finding Alice (ITV) and General Ransom in the new remake of All Creatures Great & Small (Channel 5). Other recent television credits include Lewis Archer in Coronation Street (Granada), Stanley Keen in Benidorm (ITV) and Lord Hepworth in Downton Abbey (ITV). Theatre includes Serge in the UK Tour and West End productions of Art, Algernon Moncrieff in the UK Tour of The Importance of Being Earnest and Maxim de Wynter in the UK Tour of Rebecca. His film credits include playing David Niven in The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, Hofstadter in Paradise Lost, Dr Rawlins in Empire of the Sun and Lord Andrew Lindsay in Chariots of Fire.
Dugald Bruce-Lockhart most recently appeared as Michael Gove in The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson at Park Theatre. He has also played David Cameron in The Three Lions (St James Theatre and Edinburgh Festival), for which he was nominated for Best Actor in The Stage Awards. Other theatre credits include Bill Austin in Mamma Mia! (Novello), David Hart in Wonderland (Hampstead), Richard Hannay in The 39 Steps (UK Tour) and, for Ed Hall’s Propeller Theatre Company, he has played the title role in Henry V, Antipholus of Syracuse in Comedy of Errors and Ratcliffe in Richard III.
Natalie Walter’s most recent theatre credits include Pack of Lies (Menier Chocolate Factory), Jerusalem (Watermill Theatre), Smash (Menier Chocolate Factory), 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover (Bush), 39 Steps (Criterion), Hay Fever (Chichester Festival Theatre) and, for the RSC, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Love’s Labour’s Lost. Natalie was a regular performer in the CBBC series Horrible Histories.
I’m liking the vibe this somewhat older & more experienced Amanda & Elyot are generating already. And #PatriciaHodge is so right: ‘Theatre is a tonic’.
— Terri Paddock (@TerriPaddock) April 17, 2020