Present Laughter / our review

Divine hilarious CHARMING

Jun 26th, 2019

Kitty McCarron

Kitty McCarron

Present Laughter is an effervescent joy from start to finish

All hail Matthew Warchus and the Old Vic for bringing some much-needed cheer into our lives with this delightfully bouncy adaptation of Noel Coward's somewhat biographical 1939 farce.

Starring hot-priest-of-the-moment Andrew Scott as self-obsessed yet charmingly dashing matinee Idol Gary Essendine, Present Laughter is an effervescent joy from start to finish. From the sublime acting to the styling (the period costumes are just fabulous) it is simply a divine night out darling! 

The story of a '30s stage actor at the top of his game, Present Laughter is a classically Coward-esque comedy that zings with wit, sex, and electricity. Concerning Gary's very active love life (now happily bisexual, illustrated by the changing of the character of Joanna to Joe), his career and the lives of the four people he holds most dear, it bubbles with freshness as they unravel. Relatable as if it was written yesterday, it only cements old Noel's genius further. It feels almost as if he meant for later revivals to take away the top layer - the one that wouldn't have him prosecuted for his sexuality in his time - to find the true play within. The 'gender-bend' makes such perfect sense that without googling, those who don't know the play probably wouldn't have known it ever played as a fully Hertero piece.  

Andrew Scott is on incredible form, and the rest of the cast are tip top too, (with special mentions to Indira Vrama as his forthright wife, Sophie Thompson as his secretary, and Luke Thallon as an overeager playwright - one to watch) each adding to the anarchic hilarity that raises the roof of the Old Vic from the first line. As Gary navigates his life being managed by his friends, and in turn managing his friend's lives, Scott imbues him with likability and vulnerability, even whilst being a spoilt brat. With a clipped RP accent and hysterical physical elasticity, he proves again his place as one of the most talented actors we have the pleasure to watch.  

All in all, it's a gloriously uproarious revival and one of the most watchable shows of the year. Thanks again be to Scott, Warchus, Coward and Co for making a present of this particular evening of laughter. Don't miss.

View our show pages for more information about Present Laughter, Old Vic Theatre.

Present Laughter, Old Vic Theatre, London

Present Laughter

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Old Vic Theatre: Open Run

Olivier award nominee Andrew Scott returns to the stage this June in the Old Vic's production of Noel Coward's hilarious semi-autobiographical comedy, Present Laughter. Scott will be starring alongside...more info

Book TicketsBook tickets for Present Laughter, Old Vic Theatre, London

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