Tuesday, October 3

Present Laughter – Reformed Allerton Dramatic Society

Written in 1939 Noel Coward’s blisteringly witty comedy of manners  centres around Garry Essendine a completely self-absorbed and egotistical light comedy actor as he juggles the affections and attentions of almost everyone that he encounters. Coward jokingly acknowledged that in part Essendine mirrored his own “experiences” in the world of theatre and indeed his wider relationships.

It’s clear that Essendine has never really grown up  and feels entitled when it comes to matters of the heart.

It’s a jolly and harmless romp, not one of Coward’s best – that accolade must go jointly to Private Lives and Blithe Spirit, but Cowards playful script does have its moments and the RADS rise to the occasion with a fairly solid rendition of the text.

Director Bethany Cragg  gets the most out of her cast with Christopher Jones as  Essendine giving a charming  performance throughout.

Other positive stand out performances came from  Vicky Lodge as the ruthlessly passionate vamp  Joanna Lyppiatt , Samuel Rosen as the over excited and nervous young writer Roland Maule  and Kate Jackson as Liz Essendine, Garry’s long-suffering partner. All three actors were terrific.

I’ve always thought Present Laughter, out of all of Coward’s plays would benefit from a good edit and unfortunately, through no fault of RADS, the action remains a little static and time  does seem to drag somewhat during the very long first half –  having said that, I felt that the company of actors did a really good job and Cragg  maintained  a reasonable tempo throughout.

 It trotted along with a certain amount of flair and style but I think it could’ve done with a further large spoonful of camp  as befits Garry and all his admirers.

The standard walk off – walk on set held no real surprises and I think some first night nerves crept into the proceedings which was unfortunate, but, for me this certainly didn’t distract from the overall enjoyment of the performance.

Once again RADS delivers the goods, its spirited and frothy in a Noel Coward type of way and what more could you ask!

Noel Coward’s Present Laughter is performing at RADS, Allerton, Liverpool from Wednesday 24th – Saturday 27th May at 7.30pm

Reviewer: Kiefer Williams

Reviewed: 24th May 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.