Backstage with Sam West & Phyllis Logan in Noël Coward’s Present Laughter

present laughter

Mr Selfridge actor, Sam West and Downton Abbey’s Phyllis Logan star in one of Coward’s funniest plays, Present Laughter, which comes to Milton Keynes Theatre in July ahead of a West End transfer.

Noël Coward’s Present Laughter is often thought of as semi-autobiographical. It is, undoubtedly, one of his funniest plays as he looks at life behind the theatrical curtain and reveals a world of glittering wits, dashing dressing gowns and ostentatious personalities.

Actor, charmer and diva, Garry Essendine is determined to disregard his advancing years and receding hairline by revelling in endless tantrums and casual affairs.

But just as he is about to depart for Africa, he finds himself besieged by a bevvy of would-be seductresses, not to mention his long-suffering secretary, his estranged wife, and an obsessed young playwright.

In Rehearsal. Image Nobby Clark.
In Rehearsal. Image Nobby Clark.

As he attempts to disentangle himself from their clutches and demands, the humour escalates, accompanied by delicious dialogue and sparkling repartee.

Samuel West, who has played a number of leading classical roles for the RSC including both Richard II and Hamlet, plays Garry Essendine. Other credits include Howards End, Notting Hill, Van Helsing and Hyde Park on Hudson on film; Waking the Dead, Cambridge Spies and Any Human Heart on TV.

Multi award-winning Phyllis Logan plays Monica, his acerbic secretary. Best known as the housekeeper Mrs Hughes in Downton Abbey and Lady Jane Felsham in Lovejoy, her film credits include Another Time, Another Place (for which she won both Evening Standard and BAFTA awards), Mike Leigh’s Secrets and Lies and 1984.

The cast also includes Daisy Boulton, Rebecca Johnson, Toby Longworth, Jason Morrell, Elizabeth Holland, Zoe Boyle, Martin Hancock, Sally Tatum and Patrick Walshe McBride.

Present Laughter currently playing at Theatre Royal, Bath until July 9.

2016 Tour Dates

July 11-16, Milton Keynes Theatre
July 25 – 30, Arts Theatre, Cambridge
August 1-6, Richmond Theatre, London
August 8-13, Theatre Royal, Brighton
August 15-20, Malvern Theatres.

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