Melbourne Theatre Company to Present PRIVATE LIVES, Begin. 30 Jan

Melbourne Theatre Company celebrates the opening of its 2014 season with Noël Coward's Private Lives, a sparkling comedy about love, lust and marriage directed by MTC Associate Director Sam Strong.

This timeless masterpiece of manners stars Helpmann Award-winner Lucy Durack (Legally Blonde, Wicked) as the hapless Sibyl with Leon Ford (Constellations) as her husband, Elyot. Celebrated actor Nadine Garner (City Homicide) stars as Amanda with comedy genius, John Leary as her husband, Victor.

Private Lives opens on Thursday 30 January 2014 at Southbank Theatre, The Sumner.

'This Private Lives will look and feel like a classic Coward experience: supremely elegant, sumptuously designed, and devilishly witty. But we want to surprise as well as satisfy with this new production. We want to focus on the substance as well as the style of Private Lives. We want to realise the spirit of Coward for a 2014 audience, turning up the volume on his symmetrical plotting and use of music, and unearthing the darker and more contemporary play that lurks beneath the glittering exterior,' director Sam Strong said.

Amanda has just married Victor. Elyot has just married Sibyl. But when Amanda and Elyot, who were once married to each other, discover they're both honeymooning in the same hotel in France, sparks fly as their passion re-ignites. Without a backward glance, Amanda and Elyot abscond to Paris leaving their hapless spouses behind. Just how long will this explosive whirlwind of love and lust survive when Victor and Sibyl arrive to claim their beloveds?

As a writer, composer, director, actor and singer, Noël Coward (1899-1973) was renowned for his wit, flamboyance and chic style. His prodigious output spanned six decades including more than 50 plays, some of which have been adapted for screen, and more than

300 songs. He started writing in his teens and was an overnight sensation with his play The Vortex. By the thirties he was famous on both sides of the Atlantic. Many of his works including Hay Fever, Private Lives, Design for Living, Present Laughter and Blithe Spirit have endured as theatre classics. He was knighted in 1970 and the following year received a Tony Award for distinguished achievement in theatre.

MTC Associate Artistic Director Sam Strong is one of Australia's leading theatre directors. His directing credits include The Crucible, Other Desert Cities and Madagascar (Melbourne Theatre Company); Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Sydney Theatre Company); The Boys

(Sydney Festival/Griffin); The Floating World, Between Two Waves, And No More Shall We Part and Speaking in Tongues (Griffin); The Power of Yes (Company B Belvoir); Red Sky Morning (Red Stitch). He has been nominated for multiple Best Director and Best Production awards at the Helpmann Awards, Sydney Theatre Awards and Melbourne's Green Room Awards.

Cast Lucy Durack (Sibyl Chase), Leon Ford (Elyot Chase), Julie Forsyth (Louise), Nadine Garner (Amanda Prynne), John Leary (Victor Prynne)

Director Sam Strong; Set & Costume Designer TraCy Grant Lord; Lighting Designer Paul Jackson; Composer Mathew Frank; Assistant Director Tanya Dickson

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