Noël Coward’s provocative semi-autobiographical comedy provides an abundance of laughter in this glorious revival - a giddy and surprisingly modern reflection on fame, desire and loneliness.
As he prepares to embark on an overseas tour, star actor Garry Essendine’s colourful life is in danger of spiralling out of control. Engulfed by an escalating identity crisis as his many and various relationships compete for his attention, Garry’s few remaining days at home are a chaotic whirlwind of love, sex, panic and soul-searching.
The Old Vic’s Artistic Director Matthew Warchus directs Andrew Scott (James Moriarty in Sherlock, The Priest in Fleabag) as Garry Essendine, with cast including Liza Sadovy (I’m Not Running) as the eccentric séance-loving housekeeper, Sophie Thompson (…possibly channelling Maggie Smith’s Jean Brodie…) as Garry’s secretary, Monica, and Indira Varma (Game of Thrones) as his nearly ex-wife Liz Essendine.
Present Laughter is one of Noël Coward's four great comedies of manners, along with Hay Fever, Private Lives and Blithe Spirit. It was no secret that he based the character of Garry Essendine on himself – ‘a potent mixture of self-exposure and self-celebration’ – and Coward himself took up the role when Present Laughter premiered in 1942.
Andrew Scott gives a virtuoso performance... UK Daily Telegraph
Andrew Scott is wondrous… Time Out
A magnetic Scott delivers again... Londontheatre.co.uk
A NT Live screening from the Old Vic Theatre in London.