CREAGH/CARR REVIEW

Samuel West as Garry Essendine and Daisy Boulton as Daphne Stillington in Present Laughter at MK Theatre

Samuel West as Garry Essendine and Daisy Boulton as Daphne Stillington in Present Laughter at MK Theatre

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Present Laughter at MK Theatre

The Creagh/Carr Review is one man down – my colleague Stewart Carr was otherwise engaged on Press night so regular readers of the Review will be reduced to a solitary opinion: mine.

Creagh writes: Another cracking night at MK Theatre. Present Laughter romps along like an exceedingly elegant French farce with doors opening and closing, people coming and going and a cast of characters that simply scream Noel Coward – witty, waspish and wonderfully entertaining.

From Samuel West in superb form as self-obsessed thespian Garry Essendine (a role Coward wrote for himself) to Zoe Ball as sassy, scheming Joanna Lyppiatt, they’re all delightfully off the wall and had the first night audience almost crying with laughter.

The story centres loosely around Garry, his tart secretary Monica Reed (a splendid performance from Downtown Abbey’s Phylis Logan), ex wife Liz Essendine (a warm and worldly-wise Rebecca Johnson) and his inability to say no to a long line of infatuated ladies - and one totally bonkers aspiring playwright - as he prepares for an African epiphany.

The set is classy, the costumes to die for and it’s amazing how contemporary it feels - in spite of the period setting.

There’s tremendous chemistry between the cast and special mention must be made of Sally Tatum as chain-smoking Scandinavian maid Miss Erikson and Martin Hancock as debonair Cockney valet Martin Hancock.

They both give priceless performances that certainly add to the frivolity of the piece.

It’s light-hearted fun, just the sort of thing we need in these politically-fraught times.

Present Laughter by Noel Coward runs at MK Theatre until Saturday (July 16). Call the box office on 0844 871 7652.