The full company has been revealed for the opening production of Chichester’s Festival 2018, Noël Coward’s Present Laughter, with Rufus Hound as Garry Essendine, Katherine Kingsley as Liz Essendine and Tracy-Ann Oberman as Monica Reed.
They are joined by: Ben Allen (Roland Maule), Delroy Atkinson (Fred), Lucy Briggs-Owen (Joanna Lyppiatt), Lizzy Connolly (Daphne Stillington), Emilio Doorgasingh (Henry Lyppiatt), Tamzin Griffin (Miss Erikson), Carol Macready (Lady Saltburn) and Richard Mylan (Morris Dixon).
Directed by Sean Foley, Present Laughter plays at the Festival Theatre from 20 April to 12 May 2018, with a press night on 26 April.
The comedy about sex, fame and the theatre itself – and a man wrestling with his own self-image – is widely regarded as Coward’s most autobiographical play.
Actor Garry Essendine is at the height of his fame. He’s handsome, witty, surrounded by adoring fans, and about to take his latest theatrical hit overseas. He’s also in the middle of a raging mid-life crisis. Holed up in his studio, he is assailed from all quarters: a beautiful debutante wants to bed him, an aspiring playwright from Uckfield wants to worship him, and his own producer’s wife wants to… well, what exactly does she want? Under the sardonic eye of his long-suffering secretary, Monica, and the unshockable gaze of his estranged but determined wife, Garry struggles to keep all the balls in the air.
Actor, comedian and presenter Rufus Hound returns to Chichester following Neville’s Island (2013). His stage work also includes the National Theatre’s One Man, Two Guvnors, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and The Wind in the Willows in the West End, Don Quixote for the RSC and The War of the Roses at the Rose, Kingston.
Katherine Kingsley plays Liz; she received her third Olivier Award nomination for her role as Lina Lamont in Singin’ in the Rain at CFT and in London. Her West End work also includes Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Michael Grandage Company) and Marlene Dietrich in Piaf (Donmar Warehouse).
Tracy-Ann Oberman plays Monica, returning to Chichester after playing Golde in the hit production of Fiddler On The Roof at Chichester last summer. Her stage credits also include Boeing-Boeing and Stepping Out in the West End.
Sean Foley’s West End productions include The Painkiller, Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense (Olivier Award for Best Comedy), The Ladykillers, The Dresser (at Chichester in 2016) and the multi award-winning The Play What I Wrote.
Present Laughter will be designed by Alice Power, with lighting by Mark Henderson, music and sound by Ben and Max Ringham, and movement by Lizzi Gee.