Noel Coward, the eminent wit, is synonymous with the mid-20th century – and his work is certainly a product of its time.

In the case of A Song at Twilight, this is no criticism, but rather a significant strength.

Hugo Latymer (Simon Callow, in captivating form) is a revered wordsmith in his twilight years, writing in repose on the calm shores of a Swiss lake in a grand hotel.

His German wife Hilde (Jessica Turner) fusses over him constantly, more employee than cherished loved one. His reverie is disturbed by the reappearance of a scarlet figure from his past, Carlotta (Jane Asher), who has dirty laundry which she is very eager to share.

Amidst a storm of Coward's witty one-liners and delectable bons mots, this production finds an unexpectedly modern twist - that being the struggle of a successful figure with his own sexuality.

His image and reputation as a grand old man of letters are built on his perceived heterosexuality and near-macho disregard for the motives of others. He pushes away those who attempt to get close to him, while paradoxically craving the love he cannot find from within. To embrace the side he has hidden for so long would be cathartic in the extreme, however the shock of doing so could kill his career in addition to earning him jail time.

Both Jessica Turner and Jane Asher are fine matches for the formidable Callow. As Carlotta, Ash brings an elegant, if faded, effervescence, while Turner reveals multiple layers to the stoic Hilde. Ash Rizi too brings a little comic relief as the eager Felix.

Rich in pathos, surprisingly tender and whip-smart, this 50-year-old play has barely aged a day – remaining as fresh as when first performed.

A Song at Twilight runs at the Theatre Royal Bath until February 23.