Exploring the greatest new and classic plays


Private Lives

by Noël Coward

Directed by Michael Longhurst

Donmar Theatre, London

13th June 2023

Rachael Stirling and Stephen Mangan
in Private Lives
at the Donmar Theatre April 2023
Photo by Marc Brenner

I am joined in this episode of The Play Review by Jodi Rilot, who is not only an avid theatre goer, but also a director and an actress in her own right.

We started our conversation by reviewing Somerset Maugham’s play The Circle at the Orange Tree Theatre. In the programme notes for The Circle, the director Tom Littler drew a line from Oscar Wilde through Somerset Maugham to Noël Coward and Terence Rattigan in the history of English drama. It was a natural segue for us to follow on to discuss the production of Coward’s Private Lives that recently played at the Donmar theatre in London. The show was directed by outgoing Artistic Director, Michael Longhurst, and starred Rachael Stirling and Stephen Mangan as the central warring couple. The production was notable for its frank depiction of the violence in their relationship.

For more on Private Lives, see also our full-length episode on the play with Coward’s biographer, Oliver Soden: 062 – Private Lives by Noël Coward.




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