Audience treated to afternoon tea at 1930s comedy

The Southwick Players production of Private Lives features, left to right, Ben Cassan as Victor,  Bea Mitchell-Turner as Amanda, Leigh Ward as Elyot and Louise Yeo as Sibyl

The Southwick Players production of Private Lives features, left to right, Ben Cassan as Victor, Bea Mitchell-Turner as Amanda, Leigh Ward as Elyot and Louise Yeo as Sibyl

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SOUTHWICK Players are embracing the alfresco spirit of the summer with their next show.

The company is including complimentary afternoon tea with the matinée performance of Private Lives, the delightfully witty Noël Coward play, on Saturday, July 27.

Directed by Michael Padley, the play is a romantic comedy set in the 1930s, fizzing with Coward’s trademark wit and dramatic precision.

The plot centres on former lovers Elyot, played by Leigh Ward, and Amanda, played by Bea Mitchell-Turner.

Formerly a glamorous and tempestuous couple, Elyot and Amanda haven’t seen each other since their divorce five years before.

When they meet by chance on a hotel balcony in the south of France, their passion is rekindled – despite the fact that they are both on honeymoon with their new partners, Sibyl, played by Louise Yeo, and Victor, played by Ben Cassan.

They hurl themselves headlong into a relationship once more, without stopping to consider the consequences.

Sally Diver, from Southwick Players, said: “Its second act love scene was nearly censored in Britain as too risqué!”

Coward wrote the play for his dear friend Gertrude Lawrence, with whom he became professionally and personally close.

Private Lives, at the Barn Theatre, Southwick, opens on Wednesday and runs until next Saturday, at 7.30pm daily, with a Saturday matinée at 2.30pm.

Tickets are £10, £11 and £12. Book online at www.southwickplayers.org.uk or call 01273 597094.

Following Private Lives, the Southwick Players will continue its 2013/14 season with George Orwell’s Animal Farm, directed by Tony Bright, from September 25 to 28. The award-winning Jerusalem by Jez Butterworth, directed by Claire Lewis, will run from December 4 to 7, then Oh, What a Lovely War!, directed by Richard Lindfield, will run from March 5 to 8, next year.