Present Laughter – A Classic Comedy of Errors

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By Kathy Carpenter

Sean Murray and Shana Wride – photo by Karli Cadel

“Consider the public. Never fear it nor despise it. Coax it, charm it, interest it, stimulate it, shock it now and then if you must, make it laugh, make it cry, but above all never, never, never bore the living hell out of it.” ~ Noel Coward – Cygnet Theatre Presents “Present Laughter,” by English playwright Noel Coward, directed by the in-demand Rosina Reynolds. Present Laughter is refreshingly Delightful

Amanda Sitton and Sean Murray – photo by Karli Cadel

Noel Coward wrote Present Laughter in 6 days, after pondering over it for three years. He is known for his quick writing style. Present Laughter is a classic comedy of manners that follows the life of Garry Essendine, a self-absorbed actor who is caught up in a series of personal and professional crises. The play is full of witty dialogue, sharp observations about human nature, and memorable characters.I love a play with strong characters.

The current production at Cygnet Theatre stars the loveable veteran Sean Murray as Garry Essendine. Murray is perfectly cast in the role, bringing Coward’s character to life with his effortless wit. He is surrounded by a strong supporting cast, including Shana Wride, Drew Bradford, Trevor Cruise, Melissa Fernadez, Steven Lone, James Newcomb, Amanda Sitton, and Lindsey Young. My favorite characters, Drew Bradford, a hidden gem as Essendine’s jovial valet, and Melissa Feranades, the secretary, with her sassy comeback attitude.

The other characters include, Daphne Stillington, besotted with Garry, she’s sweet and charming in her own. Miss Erikson ,Garry’s eccentric, Scandinavian housekeeper. Liz Essendine, former actress and Garry’s ex-wife.She has a no-nonsense attitude towards Garry melodrama. Roland Mau, an aspiring playwright and obsessive fan of Garry’s. Frankly, he’s mad. Morris Dixon. a director and producer. He’s smart but also shows himself to be a complete fool, Henry Lyppiatt , Businessman and long-time friend of Garry. Joanna Lyppiatt, Henry’s wife and newest member of the little group. A gorgeous viper of a woman. She uses her looks and charm to get what she wants. And, Lady Saltburn a wealthy dowager and majestic society woman.

The set design is upscale, cozy, and the costumes are stylish and period-appropriate.

Sean Murray – photo by Karli Cadel

Overall, Present Laughter is an entertaining comedy that is sure to please fans of Coward’s work. It is a sharp and witty look at the world of theater;

Cast – photo by Karli Cadel

Noel Coward’s Present Laughter

Obsession, Overacting and “Ladies Losing Their Latchkeys

March 29 – April 29, 2023

Cygnet Theatre Old Town

Box office 619.37.1525

Next at Cygnet June 7 – July 2, 2023


A Hitchcockian story that makes you Question…well, everything.


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