This new production of Private Lives had two big questions to answer: can Noel Coward still be funny, and is Nigel Havers still dashing?
The answer to both is yes.
Havers is joined in the lead roles by Patricia Hodge, who also remains on sparkling form in this flippant and frothy comedy.
While the morals of marital infidelity would have been shocking on the play’s debut in 1930 there is little to challenge by today’s standards.
The production too is safe fare, but beautifully done with spot on costumes and lush sets from Simon Higlett, and subtle lighting from Mark Jonathan. That my only quibble was an overly loud telephone sound effect is evidence of how smoothly put together this show is.
The dialogue is delivered with sparkle and pace, with Havers and Hodge picking up every nuance of Coward’s script in this tale of reconnecting divorcees.
Dugald Bruce-Lockhart and especially Natalie Walter are excellent as the unlucky second spouses, making full measure of what can seem underwritten parts.
Director Christopher Luscombe has curated a thoroughly enjoyable production that hits every note right.
Just settle in and enjoy.
- Private Lives continues at Norwich Theatre Royal until April 2