The Tamaritans performed Noel Coward’s delightful play ‘Present Laughter’ which certainly is full of laughter. The cast seemed to enjoy producing it and the audience definitely enjoyed watching it.
Noël Coward wrote the role of Garry for himself. The Tamaritans, Noel Preston-Jones acted it with a hint of Noel Coward but made it enough his own to make the part charming and not imitative. His many dressing gowns were a credit to the wardrobe department.
The two brains behind solving Garry’s farcical mess ups were Liz Essendine (Catherine Teague) and Monica Reed (Doreen Sutton). They attempted to make order out of chaos after Garry had some unwanted house guests. These ladies were both brilliant at playing the affectionate yet distant organisers amid Garry’s melodramatic purposeful overacting.
In the first act, the audience had to be very attentive as so many names were used in conversation although we had not yet met the characters. All became clear as they were slowly introduced and we were exposed to the rather odd relationships between this group of friends and colleagues.
The drawling voice used by Kate Roberts as Joanna Lyppiatt suited her nasty personality and she was amusing with it. The characterisation was well thought out. In contrast, Daphne Stillington played by Thaila Kelly was desperately adoring towards Garry.
There was great attention to detail in the scenery. The entire play takes place in Garry’s studio flat which featured tasteful ornaments, wall art and furniture. The costumes took us back to 1939 as did some of the more stereotypical characters. All the actors were strong and a pleasure to watch. The Tamaritans are a unique company who continue to find great plays to produce.