Classic Coward comedy in Worthing

Olivia Beardsley and Helen Keeley as Sibyl Chase and Amanda Prynne are joined by two new cast members this year as London Classic Theatre continues its tour of Noël Coward's comedy masterpiece, Private Lives.


Gareth Bennett-Ryan (Elyot Chase) and Paul Sandys (Victor Prynne) join the company as the show heads to Worthing’s Connaught Theatre on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 6 and 7.

Olivia and Helen recently celebrated their 100th performances in their roles; alongside them the boys were marking their 18th.

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And for Olivia and Helen that’s all part of what keeps it fun.

The show is set in 1930, Deauville, France. Two newly-married couples occupy adjoining honeymoon suites in the same hotel. As a distant orchestra plays, Sibyl gazes adoringly at charismatic husband Elyot while Victor admires his new wife, the vivacious and sophisticated Amanda.

Champagne flows and the sea shimmers in the moonlight as the newlyweds prepare for the evening ahead. But when Amanda overhears a familiar voice singing a forgotten song, an old spark reignites with spectacular consequences.

“When Coward wrote the play he wrote Elyot and Amanda for himself and for Gertie, but I was always going to go for Sibyl. I think she is the character that speaks to me most. I find Amanda incredibly interesting and beguiling, one of the best female characters, but with Sibyl there is so much that is untapped, so much more that you can explore.

“I think in the past she has been underestimated, but there is actually so much scope with her. I just love her.

“I have been with the production from the start, last August. We did 13 weeks and finished at Christmas and then we started again in January with the two new boys. One of the old ones went off to another job and the other one is having a baby, and so we got these wonderful two new ones, and that’s great to keep things fresh.

“I think of a character as a colour, and different people will bring different colours to the part. There are lots of different ways of playing it and they are all right, all just slightly different, and that’s great. I don’t think you can tangibly say how it has changed. It is just in the interpretation of the character, but maybe it has just got a little bit darker. The play has just got a little bit more emotive. With the different dynamics of the new actors, so the play changes.”

Born in the UK, Olivia grew up in Sydney and Auckland, but has been back in the UK for the past five years.

“I trained in Australia and then worked there for four years. I did some musicals and I also did a film called The Babadook. I did CGI stuff for the monster. But really I just wanted to come back to the UK. There are a lot of opportunities for actors in the UK.

“I think I would have been about 18 months old when we left England, but I had been coming back to England a lot over the years and also my family are here. This is definitely home now.”

Private Lives is Olivia’s return to London Classic Theatre having previously appeared in its UK tour of The Collector. Other theatre credits include Brimstone and Treacle (Hope Theatre), Secret Santa (Arts Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Centennial Park Open Air Theatre, Sydney), and Charcoal Creek (Merrigong Theatre Company).

Tickets for available from Worthing Theatres box office on 01903 206206 or online at