Private Lives revived in Potters Bar - free from the censor's gaze

PUBLISHED: 21:10 23 October 2012 | UPDATED: 21:23 23 October 2012

Private Lives by Potters Bar Theatre Company

Private Lives by Potters Bar Theatre Company


PRIVATE Lives will be on display for all to see in Potters Bar this week.

Noël Coward’s intimate comedy fell foul of the dreaded Lord Chamberlain shortly before it opened in 1930.

The censor thought the second act love scene was too risqué, because it featured characters who were divorced and had since married others.

Coward had to act out the play himself at St James’s Palace, to show that it would be presented in a dignified and “unobjectionable” manner.

The play is currently being revived with Anna Chancellor and Toby Stephens in Chichester.

But if you want to see what all the fuss was about locally, you simply have to get down to Tilbury Hall at the United Reformed Church in Darkes Lane, Potters Bar.

Potters Bar Theatre Company (PBTC) presents the play there until Saturday, October 27,

The action focuses on Elyot and Amanda, who unexpectedly bump into each other while on honeymoon with their new spouses, Sybil and Victor, in France.

Old flames are predictably reignited and they run away to Paris, but soon it becomes clear why they split up in the first place.

“The relaxed and flamboyant lives of the characters provide an enlightening, yet interesting juxtaposition to the changes that were occurring in the real world at the time,” said director Sonja Taylor.

“The hedonism of the roaring 20s was underpinned by a bitter nihilism. This duality is captured in Private Lives and lends it a modern voice.”

* PBTC’s Private Lives will be performed at Tilbury Hall until Saturday, October 27.

Evening performances start at 7.30pm, with a matinee performance on the Saturday at 2.30pm.

Tickets are priced £9 for adults, £7 under-18s and £7 senior citizens (Saturday matinee performance).

Call the box office on 07985 542204 or visit, booking fee applies to all online orders.

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