Rave Reviews for PRESENT LAUGHTER!

November 22, 2016

Hey check out this vid https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lt5U3xLnUEc 

 

 

Join the Fun! Noel Coward's "Present Laughter"back this Wed 7:30 pm at the Long Center before your Thanksgiving festivities.  Thru Dec. 4 

TKTS thelongcenter.org/event/present-laughter

 

Thx BroadwayWorld.com and Frank Benge for a lovely review!
"...described by Coward as "a series of semi-autobiographical pyrotechnics".... Staging Coward successfully takes a deft directorial hand and a cast that understands how to perform language plays. Austin Shakespeare's production of PRESENT LAUGHTER, now playing at the Long Center, blissfully has both in spades. Director Ann Ciccolella keeps this delicious comedic confection light and fast 

and the end result is a sparkling, witty entertainment. John Mayfield's scenic design is sumptuously elegant, providing a wonderful world in which Coward's witty creations cavort. Benjamin Taylor Ridgway's costumes are perfect, including such lovely touches as slippers that match the fabric of the characters pajamas...At the center of this stylish and tasty bonbon are the sparkling performances of Marc Pouhé and Babs George. Their scenes together crackle with wit and impeccable timing. They have a clear chemistry together that allows them to land every snarky, witty insult with panache. The whole cast is absolutely wonderful in this production; however, there were a few that added that little extra that set them apart. Janelle Buchanan was delightfully droll as housekeeper Erikson, with the eternal burnt cigarette hanging from her mouth. Toby Minor's Fred was great fun, with Minor's signature physicality adding an extra dollop of charm to the character. Alison Stebbins gave a wonderful sassy girl Friday quality to the character of Monica. Steve Cruz imbued a wonderfully manic quality in Roland Maule that gave the innuendos of Coward an extra push to sublime comedic effect. Michael Miller has a terrifically funny drunk scene as Morris Dixon.
PRESENT LAUGHTER is a wonderful evening of classic Coward done right. I highly recommend it as a way to forget your troubles, have some great laughs and be grandly entertained.

 

AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN review is a RAVE! "a Delightful Romp"
"... a strong production of Coward relies upon a strong cast, and Austin Shakespeare has an ensemble that pulls it off. Marc Pouhé is the perfect pick for Garry Essendine, using his own exuberant stage presence and mellifluous voice to embody the aging actor in a pitch-perfect portrayal that is equal parts send-up and loving embrace. The redoubtable Babs George, as his ex-wife (but eternal partner) Liz, serves as a bemused, cynical counterpoint to Pouhé, while Alison Stebbins, as his secretary Monica Reed, creates a more directly (but lovingly) antagonistic challenge to his vainglorious, womanizing ways. Stebbins, in particular, excels at digging into the more biting side of Coward’s wit, making Monica all the more likable as she does so.
Other highlights amongst the cast include Corinna Browning, as the increasingly unhinged ingénue Daphne Stillington; Kara Bliss, as Joanna Lyppiatt, the manipulative and cold-hearted wife of one of Garry’s friends; Steve Cruz, as Roland Maule, a young playwright whose obsession with Garry takes broad comedic strokes that give the production its most hilarious moments; and Toby Minor as Fred, Garry’s valet, whose small role is the most humane in the play, giving voice to a way of life outside of the manipulations of Coward’s upper-class protagonists.
Director Ann Ciccolella and her talented design team have put together a believable, naturalistic world in which these actors are able to romp. John Mayfield’s set, highlighted by Patrick W. Anthony’s lighting and Chaz Sanders props, creates an epic scope to Garry’s domicile that speaks to his wealth and power while at the same time hinting at some of his inherent tackiness. Benjamin Taylor Ridgway’s gorgeous costumes create the same lush sensibility, aided by wig designers Tara Cooper and Allison Lowery.
Present Laughter is a show that creates exactly what the title suggests—laughter. Its equal dose of warmth and cynicism, building up to farcical hysteria, are much needed in the present, and still have some pointed critiques to make about the destruction that comes when we allow ourselves to believe our own performances and the charismatic lies of other people." Andrew J. Friedenthal

 

 

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