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Design For Living by Noël Coward

Friday 10 January

Media Release

Design For Living

by Noël Coward

Feb 14 - Mar 8

A delicious summer cocktail with a twist.

Lisa Chappell stars in DESIGN FOR LIVING, Noël Coward's sparkling comedy of manners about an impossible ménage à trois which opens Auckland Theatre Company's 2008 season at the Maidment Theatre on February 14.

"It should be easy, you know. The actual facts are so simple. I love you. You love me.

You love Otto. I love Otto. Otto loves you. Otto loves me. There now!

Start to unravel from there." Leo

And unravel they do. From bohemian Paris of the 1930's to the dizzying heights of Manhattan society, Gilda (Lisa Chappell), a vivacious interior designer, leads playwright Leo and artist Otto on a merry dance of love, lust and betrayal.

But who loves who the most? And can this trio, tipsy on champagne cocktails and the intoxicating effects of success, find anything resembling happiness?

"a giddy comedy of manners" - The Times

International awarding winning actress Lisa Chappell returns the New Zealand stage after a successful career in Australian television where she is best known for her role as Claire McLeod on McLEOD'S DAUGHTERS.

Winner of the Silver Logie for the Most Popular Actress on Australian Television in 2004, Chappell was also nominated for two Golden Logies for Best Actress on Australian Television in 2003 and 2004.

Chappell has just finished touring Australia in as Rita in EDUCATION RITA, a character she says was a brilliant warm up for Coward's stunning use of the English language and his quick witted repartee. "Gilda is funny, intelligent, brave, decadent, hysterical and a rebel. Jolly good fun!" says Chappell.

"DESIGN FOR LIVING feels like it was written yesterday," says Auckland Theatre Company Artistic Director Colin McColl, adding "Coward's sparkling comedy is as fresh, funny and contemporary as ever."

"At the height of his success, Coward pushed the boundaries of what a respectable English playwright could hope to get away with. He smuggled some fairly outrageous ideas and characters on stage in the guise of glamorous, frivolous comedy," says McColl.

DESIGN FOR LIVING is a designers dream, lending itself to stylish sets and costumes which capture the glamour and energy of the 1930s.

New Zealand's leading costume designer Elizabeth Whiting returns to Auckland Theatre Company refreshed and inspired after a two month jaunt to China.

"The characters are so stylish, sexy and slightly wild," says Whiting, "I have chosen fabrics with exquisite knits, that cling to the body but still have volume movement, the cut is long and covers the body but is fitted enough to reveal the body too, they're alluring and teasing."

Robin Rawstorne, who will make his New Zealand design debut with DESIGN FOR LIVING, is an award winning designer, and has worked extensively in Europe in Television, Film, Theatre and Opera. He's also no stranger to bohemian lifestyle in Paris having lived and worked there, "it's great, it's an energetic and cultural city. The life the characters lead is quite common; living in an amazing studio/apartment furnished with your current artwork and beautiful antique furniture you can just pick up off the street."

"The trio are Aristocrats playing at being boheme" he says, "their lives are always in a state of flux and the set dressing picks up on their eccentric and eclectic tastes."

Sound designer Eden Mulholland is living a hectic artist's life himself at the moment. As well as working on DESIGN FOR LIVING he has just performed with his band Motocade at the THE BIG DAY OUT and will also appear in Wellington as a dancer in Outlaw Creative's DARK TOURIST.

Auckland Theatre Company's Associate Director Artistic & Literary Roy Ward, acclaimed for his recent production of MY NAME IS GARY COOPER, directs the production.

DESIGN FOR LIVING plays at The Maidment Theatre from Valentine day, Feb 14 until March 8. Bookings can be made at the Maidment Theatre 09 308 2383 or

Design For Living By Noel Coward

Starring: Lisa Chappell, Richard Edge, Curtis Vowell with Bronwyn Bradley, Andrew Ford, Cameron Rhodes and Liesha Ward Knox Writer: Noel Coward Direction: Roy Ward Designers: Brad Gledhill, Eden Mulholland, Robin Rawstorne, Elizabeth Whiting

Maidment Theatre, Feb 14 - Mar 8 Tuesday - Wednesday 6.30pm, Thursday - Saturday 8.00pm Matinee Saturday 1 March at 2.00pm Sundays 4.00pm Tickets: $25 - $54 (booking fees apply)


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