The many excellencies of Noël Coward’s oft-revived 1930 comedy Private Lives are revealed anew in the polished new production, under director Tam Williams, at The Mill at Sonning.

One of these is certainly not an ahead-of-its-time respect for sexual equality. In these #MeToo days it rankles to hear from the principal male character that “certain women should be struck regularly, like gongs”.

But it must be said that the woman prescribed the treatment here gives as good as she gets.

Well does fight director Alison de Burgh deserve her prominent credit in the programme. The rumbles she devises are so frighteningly realistic that one marvels no damage is done.

The pugilists are the urbane, Coward-like – the Master first played him – Elyot Chase (Darrell Brockis) and his feisty former wife Amanda (Eva-Jane Willis, both pictured). They find themselves in next door suites – unlikely or what? – in a Deauville hotel while honeymooning with their new spouses Sibyl and Victor.

Coward initially dismissed this pair (the latter played by Laurence Olivier early in his career) as merely “extra puppets”. But as presented here by Lydea Perkins, pert and doting, and Tom Berkeley, all puppy-dog devotion, they emerge as well-rounded characters in their own right.

Each is destined to be dumped, of course, as Elyot and Amanda resume relations, fleeing to her Paris flat for more love-hate stuff.

This good-looking production (Michael Holt, set; Natalie Titchener, costumes) catches the period precisely, as do the crisp upper-crust tones of the actors.

Musical director Celia Cruwys-Finningan wields her accordion to proper French effect, before coming back as the comic maid Louise. Great stuff!

Until August 3. 0118 969 8000,