Noel Coward's Private Lives

Noël Coward’s Private Lives

By Noël Coward
Directed by Martin Duncan

Must we always bicker?

Coward's 1930s sparkling, witty comedy arrives at The Lyceum just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Private Lives follows the difficult relationship of divorced couple Elyot and Amanda, who, while honeymooning with their new spouses, discover that they are staying in adjacent rooms at the same hotel in the South of France. Cue Elyot and Amanda falling in love - and in hate - all over again as their bewildered new spouses Sibyl and Victor try to cope. Love is complicated!

Private Lives is directed by internationally acclaimed writer, director and choreographer Martin Duncan, who delighted us when he brought Man of La Mancha to The Lyceum.

Director, Martin Duncan says: "Sparkling wit — brilliant dialogue — one of the greatest rom coms of all time! They don't write them like that anymore..." 

Cast and Credits


Kirsty Besterman - Amanda Prynne
John Hopkins - Elyot Chase
Ben Deery - Victor Prynne
Emily Woodward - Sibyl Chase
Nicola Roy - Louise

Creative Team

Director - Martin Duncan
Designer - Francis O'Connor
LX Designer - Chris Davey
Assistant Director - Stephen Whitson
Stage Manager - Claire Williamson
Assistant Stage Manager - Julia Dixon-Philip


Dates, Times & Prices

Dates and times

Running Time: To be confirmed (there will be a 20 minute interval)

Friday 14 Feburary, 7.45pm (Preview)
Saturday 15 Feburary, 7.45pm (Preview)
Monday 17 Feburary, 7.45pm (Preview)

Tuesday 18 Feburary, 7.45pm 
Wednesday 19 Feburary, 2.30pm
Wednesday 19 Feburary, 7.45pm
Thursday 20 Feburary, 7.45pm 
Friday 21 Feburary, 7.45pm
Saturday 22 Feburary, 2.30pm 
Saturday 22 Feburary, 7.45pm

Tuesday 25 Feburary, 7.45pm
Wednesday 26 Feburary, 2.30pm
Wednesday 26 Feburary, 7.45pm 
Thursday 27 Feburary, 7.45pm (Touch Tour, 6.30pm and Audio-described Performance)
Friday 28 Feburary, 7.45pm
Saturday 1 March, 2.30pm (Touch Tour, 1.15pm and Audio-described Performance)
Saturday 1 March, 7.45pm

Tuesday 4 March, 7.45pm
Wednesday 5 March, 2.30pm
Wednesday 5 March, 7.45pm (BSL Interpreted Performance)
Thursday 6 March, 7.45pm
Friday 7 March, 7.45pm
Saturday 8 March, 2.30pm (Captioned Performance)
Saturday 8 March, 7.45pm



  • Grand Circle & Stalls PREMIUM SEATS: £27.50
  • Grand Circle & Stalls STANDARD SEATS: £25
  • Upper Circle STANDARD SEATS: £17
  • Restricted View Seats: £14


  • Grand Circle & Stalls PREMIUM SEATS: £22
  • Grand Circle & Stalls STANDARD SEATS: £20
  • Upper Circle STANDARD SEATS: £15
  • Restricted View Seats: £12

Preview performances

All seats £10, unreserved seating (no concessions)
A £1 transaction fee applies to all bookings



Appropriate ID will be required to verify age or status.

Seniors and Arts Workers

  • £3 off full price tickets

Students, people with disabilities and under 18s 

  • All seats £10
  • Student standby tickets £7.50 (Available on the day of the performance)
  • Wheelchair spaces available in Stalls Boxes
  • Assistants accompanying people with disabilities go free

Registered unemployed

  • All seats £10
  • Tuesday - Thursday: £5 Stalls tickets on the day (excluding Premium Seats, max 20 per show)

School discounts

  • Tuesday - Saturday: £8.50 (Stalls & Grand Circle), £7.50 (Upper Circle)
  • One teacher free with every ten pupils
  • Call our Groups and Schools booking line - 0131 248 4949
  • Discount not available on Premium Seats

Group discounts for 8 or more people

  • £5 off full price tickets (Stalls and Grand Circle) plus one free ticket for every 20 paid for
  • £3 off full price tickets (Upper Circle) plus one free ticket for every 20 paid for
  • Call our Groups and Schools booking line - 0131 248 4949
  • Discount not available on Premium Seats

Transaction Fee

  • A £1 transaction fee applies to all bookings (excluding free events) to cover the service costs required to process a transaction
  • If you buy multiple tickets at the same time the fee will remain £1
  • Applies to all booking methods and forms of payment


Accessible performances for this production

Touch Tours for the visually impaired

  • Thursday 27 Feburary, 6.30pm
  • Saturday 1 March, 1.15pm

Audio-described Performances

  • Thursday 27 Feburary, 7.45pm
  • Saturday 1 March, 2.30pm

BSL Interpreted Performance

  • Wednesday 5 March, 7.45pm

Captioned Performance

  • Saturday 8 March, 2.30pm

Full information on accessible performances and facilities at the Lyceum


Access facilities at the Lyceum


  • Blue badge parking spaces directly opposite the theatre
  • Street level access to the Lyceum foyer

Front of House

  • Lifts to all levels
  • Front of House wheelchair available for audience use
  • Induction loop at Box Office
  • Accessible toilet in foyer


  • Infra red and radio headsets for hearing enhancement and audio-described performances
  • Assistance dogs welcome in auditorium or can be left with Front of House staff
  • Raised Stalls Boxes offers space for up to 27 people in wheelchairs/companions
  • Underlit row letters, tactile row markers and embroidered seats numbers
  • Booster cushions and footstools available
  • Induction loop permanently on

Full information on accessible performances and facilities at the Lyceum

Take Part

Creative Learning events for this production


Focus on: Noël Coward's Private Lives

Spend a relaxed but informative morning with local historian and theatre expert Owen Dudley Edwards as he discusses Noël Coward's Private Lives.

  • Wednesday 19 Feburary, 10.30am
  • £6 per class
  • Includes coffee/tea

Post-show Discussion

  • Tuesday 25 Feburary, after evening performance
  • FREE, unticketed

Theatre Discussion Group

Join facilitator Rod McAra for a friendly discussion.

  • Wednesday 5 March, after matinee performance
  • FREE, but ticketed

To book for ticketed events, please call 0131 248 4848 or book online.

(£1 transaction fee applies per booking)

Audience Feedback

Audience feedback for this production

This page is for  feedback from audience members, including comments from social media such as Twitter and Facebook, and also audience reviews.

If you would like to submit your own review of this production, please use the form on this page.

Selection of Twitter Reviews

Al ‏@cheesus_green9 | Mar 9
Took mum to see #PrivateLives last night @lyceumtheatre It was brilliant! Pair of us were in stitches.
Well done & thanks to cast & crew.

Joe Douglas ‏@utterjoe | Mar 8
Edinburgers - last chance for #PrivateLives @lyceumtheatre. Brilliantly funny, beautifully designed, expertly performed. Great show.

Mark Gorman ‏@markagorman | Mar 8
#PrivateLives @lyceumtheatre achingingly, terribly hilarious. Making fool of myself laughing innapropriately loudly (as bloody per).

Dale Lush™ ‏@dalelush | Mar 6
Still giggling after seeing #PrivateLives at @lyceumtheatre tonight. Great cast, fab show. Must see!!

Megan Porter ‏@MeganPorter_ | Mar 8
Absolutely loved last nights performance of #PrivateLives at the @lyceumtheatre , not laughed so much at a play in a long time!!

David Hoy ‏@DavidHoy84 | Feb 23
#PrivateLives at the @lyceumtheatre; witty & cutting dialogue, laugh out loud moments & great slapstick timing, all making for a great show.

Andrea Gillies ‏@andreagillies | Feb 23
The production of Private Lives at the Lyceum Edinburgh is one of the best I've seen. Fizzes with wit and pace. Terrific fight choreography.

Read more on our twitter account.

Press Coverage


Click on the stars for full articles (some publications implement pay-walls)

"This is a truly entertaining evening, filled with great wit and wonderfully choreographed sequences, the no-holds-barred domestic feud at the end of act two is a highlight in itself."
★★★★★★, John Darley, Edinburgh Evening News

"It’s delightful to see how well director Martin Duncan understands Coward’s dialogue, not a single nuance or barb being misconstrued or missed...Private Lives is a classy evening of hilarious theatre that is as intoxicating as the brandy Elyot knocks back with gusto."
★★★★★, Melissa Steel, Wow 24/

"Private Lives is both an hilarious social comedy of its time, but equally a timeless romantic drama. But it’s far more than two hours of funny puns and frolics. ...Sparkling, sassy, cool and classy, the laugh-a-minute humour is so intoxicating it hits the spot like an ice-cold Dirty Martini."
★★★★★, Vivienne Devlin, Edinburgh Guide
" In Martin Duncan’s sparkling new production at the Royal Lyceum, the hotel and its balconies are brilliantly realised in a cleverly-angled towering set by Francis O’Connor, all sleek white modern architecture in the style of a transatlantic liner. Amanda’s flat in Paris, the scene of the second and third acts, is likewise a stylish dream of a studio filled with art deco furniture in strong colours. And the clear bold lines of the set are echoed in the performances of Duncan’s cast, led by Kirsty Besterman and John Hopkins as a scratching, biting, fast-punching Elyot and Amanda – all suave aristocratic manners one minute, and fierce domestic violence the next – with Emily Woodward in fine form as a small, blonde, fiery and unsually entertaining Sybil, and Ben Deery suitably stalwart as Victor. "
★★★★, Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman

"If love is a bourgeois concept, as was suggested in the song of the same name by Pet Shop Boys last year, there are few plays that articulate it better than Noel Coward's dissection of unhappy honeymooners which he knocked out over a long weekend in 1930. Martin Duncan's production places a noticeably younger and sexier Amanda and Elyot on the adjoining balconies of designer Francis O'Connor's art deco erection of a white and pink hotel.
★★★★, Neil Cooper, The Herald

"Performances of a very high order bring Noël Coward's comedy about mismatched lovers to gutsy, excruciating life."
★★★★, Mark Fisher, The Guardian

"Martin Duncan’s production for the Royal Lyceum continually turns on a sixpence between gossamer-light comedy of manners and moments of disarming pathos...all four of the principals appear at ease with Coward’s oeuvre and are well-served by designer Francis O’Connor’s set, which provides a lavish, Art Deco backdrop to all the verbal sparring"
★★★★, Allan Radcliffe, The Times

"A lively and highly energetic piece, that boasts exceptional acting from the small, but talented cast of Besterman, Hopkins, Deery and Woodward...special mention must also go to the set and costume designer, Francis O’Connor, whose stunning, colourful and gigantic art deco realisations of 1930s France brought a real sense of authenticity and a sense of magic to Coward’s unforgettable work."
★★★★, Amy Taylor, The Public Reviews

"Martin Duncan’s revival of Coward’s 1930 comedy of manners takes the characters back to a younger incarnation, giving the play a playful, flippant tone...It’s an energy that comes with youth and a certain naivety; the audience are merely voyeurs, there to laugh at them but also to envy the undeniable chemistry that makes them belong so wholly to each other. For that reason, it’s hard not to crave the satisfaction of a happy ending. And you won’t be disappointed."
★★★★, Emma Hay, TV Bomb
"In the right hands, such as director Martin Duncan’s, Private Lives’ darker, brutal heart pulses strong underneath the self-consciously mannered fluff...This is a delightful, authentic revival that brings out the best of the writing."
★★★★, Paul F. Cockburn,

"This production has style, panache and a real spirit of glee. As a certain couple sneak off at the end, we can only join in their stifled laughter at the whole ludicrous scenario that is human misbehaviour."
★★★★, Ros MacKenzie, Lothian Life
"Crisp in its physicality and punctilious in its delivery, Private Lives at the Royal Lyceum brings out the full verve of Noel Coward’s marvellous script, with director Martin Duncan giving his cast full rein in their authentically mannered delivery...Francis O’Connor’s set, a towering Art Deco hotel exterior and a jauntily swish Parisian loft apartment subtly lit by Chris Davey, sparkles with detail. His costumes, like the production as a whole, are an effortless breeze of character definition. Superb."
Thom Dibdin, The Stage
"A refreshing production: the sets are large and airy, there are two intervals for drinks and the cast are quick with the dialogue and light on their feet. Francis O'Connor's sets and costumes embrace the styles of the 1930s in all their Art Deco modernism. The symmetrical hotel exterior of the first act stretches up to a vanishing point in the heavens with angular grace, while the interior of second and third acts is a shirne to avant-garde furniture."
Seth Ewin, British Theatre Guide
"Comic and crowd-pleasing, the Lyceum’s production of Noel Coward’s Private Lives provides fine entertainment."
Hugh Simpson, All Edinburgh Theatre



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