The pace of the cast members’ dialogue and interaction with each other is almost always spot on in Blithe Spirit.
Noël Coward’s classic comedy Blithe Spirit, directed by Richard Eyre and starring Jennifer Saunders, will return next year for a UK tour followed by a strictly limited six-week engagement at the West End’s Duke of York’s Theatre following a celebrated reception at the Theatre Royal Bath earlier this summer.
Tam Williams’ production of Private Lives at the Mill at Sonning is clean and crisp, nicely framed with a lady accordoniste setting the location, and after a slowish start the piece moves up a gear in the scenes involving all four characters, and especially in two well-choreographed fights.
First of all let’s say that Andrew Scott is a marvel in Present Laughter, a 21st century Ur-Coward hero, who manages to do it without either the matey crassness lately inflicted on the part by Rufus Hound, or that retro, clipped Cowardspeak which echoes the Master too much.
Noël Coward would have thoroughly approved of Andrew Scott’s gloriously outrageous turn as ageing matinée idol, Garry Essendine, in The Old Vic’s reinvention of Present Laughter.
The Old Vic’s production of Present Laughter finally feels as though we’re shaking off some of the restraints that have shackled Noel Coward to the past.
It’s is not going to change your life but for a chance to see a national treasure and to wallow away from the pressures of the real world for a couple of hours, Blithe Spirit ticks all the boxes.
If I could look into Madame Arcati’s crystal ball I think I would see a West End transfer on the cards for Richard Eyre’s playful production of Blithe Spirit.
Exuberantly funny, elegant as a Deauville hotel balcony and sharp as the crack of a 78rpm record over a lover’s head, Joanna Carrick’s witty miniaturised production does Noel Coward’s sparkiest comedy full justice. I say miniature – it’s full length – only because of the venue: the tiny but vigorous home of Red Rose Chain.
The Old Vic today has announced that Matthew Warchus will direct Andrew Scott in Noёl Coward’s provocative comedy Present Laughter, opening on 25 June 2019, with previews from 17 June. The cast also includes Luke Thallon, Sophie Thompson, Suzie Toase and Indira Varma.
Noël Coward’s A Song at Twilight may be billed as a comedy but this story of one man’s fear of mortality and exposure, is tinged with tragedy. The Theatre Royal Bath’s polished production, which is currently touring the UK, glories in Simon Callow’s exquisite enunciation.
This may not be Shakespeare or Ibsen but Tonight At 8.30 it is a hell of an entertainment. Whether it is effective in reappraising Coward is a moot point but it is unquestionably a worthwhile effort.
The entire cast of Present Laughter executed every scene with a fabulous, animated, flamboyant energy yet there seemed to be an awful lot of unnecessary shouting throughout this production.
Yes, the Present Laughter is a bit jokey and, as one critic has said, cartoonish, but perhaps that is just what audiences want. You can’t say that it isn’t entertaining.
What begins as a comedy of manners in Present Laugher does turn gradually into true farce: wrong people behind doors, disastrous revelations of affairs, panic. And in this area director Sean Foley is wholly reliable.
A historic hit! Jermyn Street Theatre’s historic staging of Noel Coward’s full Tonight at 8.30 cycle has wowed the critics who attended this past weekend’s trilogy days. We’ve rounded up some of our favourite review quotes below, including from our own Cowardologist Libby Purves. Get your tickets before they’re all gone!
One of the pleasures for an amateur Cowardologist is spotting echoes and pre-echoes of other plays; and, not least, marvelling at the Master’s particular gift for sending up situations in one play which he takes with painful seriousness in another.
Got your tickets yet for Jermyn Street’s historic staging of Noel Coward’s Tonight at 8.30? It’s the first time that all nine plays in the cycle have been staged together in London since their 1936 premiere. Check out our gallery of production shots from the first three Bedroom Farces below – and then get booking!
We continue our series building up to the opening of Jermyn Street’s complete staging of Noel Coward’s Tonight at 8.30 with these new, rehearsal room videos from the cast introducing the nine plays in the cycle, not seen all together in London since their 1936 premiere. Watch onscreen below – and then get booking to watch onstage!
Brief Encounter is a love letter to both film and theatre in which Rice combines elements of David Lean’s 1946 film with the 1936 Noël Coward play Still Life that it was based on, and then sprinkles in her own brand of magic.