Cast changes for Coward classic


KWAZULU-NATAL stage personalities Charon Williams-Ros and Peter Court have now joined the Durban team for the second monthly Play Club play reading . They have replaced Clare Mortimer and Bryan Hiles, who now have other commitments.

Steven Stead will head the Durban cast of this month’s Play Club play reading – Noël Coward’s classic comedy, Private Lives – which is to be read on Monday, February 27

The Tony- and Olivier Award-winning play – labelled by the New York Times as “an enduring marriage of wit and lust … one of the funniest comedies of the 20th century!” – will be read simultaneously at venues in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

In Durban, at a venue only to be revealed when people RSVP for the limited tickets available (R50 a donation), award-winner Stead will be reading the role of Elyot.

Work commitments have meant Clare Mortimer (above) has had to drop out of reading the role of Amanda in the Noël Coward classic. She is being replaced by Charon Williams-Ros.

Bryan Hiles, who had originally been cast as Victor, will now be replaced by Peter Court, and Clare Mortimer, who had been cast as Amanda, will be replaced by Charon Williams-Ros.

Liesl Coppin appears as Sybil, Tess Tjasink as Louise and Gill Brunings is to handle stage direction for the reading, which is presented in partnership with Durban Actors’ Studios.

The moderator for the evening will be Play Club Durban’s Marc Kay.

According to Drew Bakker, who is the mastermind of Play Club, Hiles and Mortimer had to pull out of the reading as both are appearing in touring Othello and Hamlet productions.

“These shows have just confirmed dates that will be clashing with Private Lives, so we are thrilled to bring Charon and Peter on board to replace Clare and Bryan, who are on the road. We always tag that casting for Play Club is always subject to change and we’re thrilled to welcome Charon and Peter! It’s gonna be a great evening.”

In Johannesburg, Jonathan Roxmouth stars as Elyot with Carly Graeme as Amanda, Charlie Bouguenon as Victor, Ashleigh Harvey as Sybil, Sarah Richard as Louise and Gabi Harris on stage directions.

The reading, to be hosted privately, will be moderated by Drew Baker, Play Club’s founder.

In Cape Town, Matthew Newman will star as Elyot with Genna Galloway as Amanda, Richard Wright-Firth as Victor, Jessica Sole as Sybil, Dara Beth as Louise and Play Club Cape Town’s Maria Vos on stage directions and moderating the evening. The reading is proudly in association with ACT Cape Town.

The play centres on sparks flying when divorced, newly remarried lovers land in adjacent honeymoon suites one glorious evening on the French Riviera, igniting a timeless battle of the sexes.

A comic masterpiece wrapped up in the epitome of 20th-century glamour and whip-smart wit of the incomparable Noël Coward, Private Lives has been described as sophisticated, urbane and as hilariously catty as they come.

Steven Stead will read the role of Elyot in Private Lives.

Since 2012, Play Club has aspired to inspire community among top theatre and filmmakers and their audiences, introducing the ultimate behind-the-scenes look into the creative process at the ground-floor of a play.

For actors, it’s a chance, once-a-month, to dive into the world’s leading scripts and, as the name suggests, play. For drama students and audience, it’s a chance to see where it all begins and to be part of the process.

“Simply put, it is not a performance, as we would traditionally know it, but the beginnings. And it all happens exclusively for one night only. And it is all driven by a simple vision: to break down walls and create dialogue surrounding the industry,” says Bakker.

“Private Lives marks Play Club’s 45th reading, currently home in Johannesburg, Cape Town and our newest city, Durban, with over 1 000 actors, producers, drama students and their audience coming through our doors since our beginnings, truly South Africa’s inspiring community.”

To RSVP for Private Lives visit

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