One of Noel Coward’s many pieces is bought to the stage in this touring production of Present Laughter.
It sees actor Gary Essendine’s life get rather complicated before a trip to Africa by a bevvy of beautiful ladies, old friends and an obsessed playwright.
The show is rather well performed with Samuel West playing lead role Gary with plenty of charm and arrogance. Phyllis Logan plays his put upon secretary Monica with plenty of despair and many of the show’s best lines.
While it is well acted and some of the costumes are amazing (the dressing gown budget must have been extravagant), there is much that doesn’t work.
It is far too long, an hour an 20 minutes for the first act is a hard slog and while there is lots of decent lines, it’s normally surrounded by 10 minutes of inaction.
The play only really comes alive in the second half as Gary’s chaotic life is bought completely to the fore.
There are some jokes and lots to admire but these are only mild thrills and one for Coward fanatics only.
Present Laughter can be seen at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday July 16. For tickets call the box office on 0844 871 7652 or visit www.atgtickets.co.uk/miltonkeynes.