• Thursday, June 30, 2022

Drama

Present Laughter: Scott dazzles in brilliant Noël Coward farce revival

Andrew Scott and Indira Verma

By: Lekshmi Sajeev

by SHAILESH SOLANKI

ANDREW SCOTT is one of the hottest properties in British television after dazzling appearances in Sherlock and Fleabag, and he doesn’t disappoint with a virtuoso performance in this brilliant revival of Noël Coward’s 1930s comedic farce, Present Laughter.

Scott is commanding in this re-enactment, fizzing with energy as the adored matinee idol
Garry Essendine, a Peter Pan-like figure refusing to grow up, who struts and swaggers across the stage wrestling with the torment of fame. He revels in the role, gloriously portraying Garry’s multi-faceted personality as he switches seamlessly from the posturing peacock fending off unwanted fans to the melancholy of the fading film star, closeted among a small coterie of friends.

Indira Varma shines as Garry’s separated wife and best friend Liz, adding class and a gravitas to the role. Her chemistry with Scott reveals the tenderness and deep-seated anxieties of the central character.

Director Matthew Warchus adds a modern twist to this production, including changing the
gender of key characters. Garry’s illicit encounter with Joe (Joanna in the original) disrupts the close-knit group of friends, bestowing untold opportunities for farce.

Sophie Thompson delivers her lines with perfect comic timing as Garry’s acerbic secretary
Monica Reed, and Luke Thallon is delightful as Roland Maule, the besotted young playwright.

Present Laughter is running at the Old Vic Theatre in London until August 10, 2019.

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