Production 29 Present Laughter

Present LaughterBy Noël Coward

Performed on Wed 18th to Sat 21st November 1964 at The Astor Theatre
In aid of the Deal, Walmer & Kingsdown Amateur Rowing Club

 

 

The Cast

The Cast

Daphne Stillington Jacqueline Ward
Miss. Erikson Iris Doms
Fred Henry Riley
Monica Reed Doris Cohen
Garry Essendine Tony Kilshawe
Liz Essendine Madeleine Franklin
Ronald Maule Ronald Latham
Henry Lyppiatt Conrad Sherwin
Morris Dixon Tony Faulkner
Joanna Lyppiatt Dorothy Abbot
Lady Saltburn Eleanor Bowthorpe

Cast of Present LaughterCast of Present Laughter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View the Gallery

View the Gallery

 

Previews/Reviews

Previews/Reviews

Present Laughter

Cast of Present Laughter

The first joint production of Deal’s three dramatic societies proved an outstanding success in entertainment value but whether its aim in boosting the local Rowing Club’s appeal for financial aid succeeded might be another matter. There seems to be a strange reluctance among Deal residents to support their local play groups, yet there are many who are prepared to journey to London – 140 miles there and back - to see a stage performance of one kind or another. Yet I am sure if they would only lend this support to Astor Theatre performances, they would be more than well satisfied. At least that’s my deduction after seeing Noël Coward’s three act light comedy Present Laughter on Saturday night. I cannot write on the previous three night’s performance but I feel that if they had been up to the standard of the production I saw, the play would not have been amiss on the stage of a more famous theatre. Coward might not be everyone’s selection but the slick smooth way Present Laughter progressed from the first to the final curtain might well have won him a few more fans. As was to be expected, the professional touch of Tony Kilshawe at the play’s direction added a polish so lacking in many efforts by amateur players. He moulded the cast into a first-class team and one of the most pleasant features was the lack of the service of the prompters. Scenes of the three acts centred on around the London studio actor Garry Essendine, separated from his wife, but who has a certain amount of attraction for other women which he certainly enjoys. Complicated circumstances arise when two of these attractions mislay their latch keys on successive nights, they turn to Garry’s for refuge which he willingly gives, and sleep in his spare bedroom. His wife arrives on both occasions, and as one set of circumstances leads to another, they end up being reunited instead of going to Africa to produce a play, his two lady friends having booked passages on the same liner. As was to be expected, Tony Kilshawe as Garry Essendine, dominated and his switches of mood from hysterical tantrums to suave gentleness could only be accomplished by someone with wide experience of Coward and the stage. Adept at matching his valuable outbursts was his secretary Monica Reed, played by Doris Cohen. She filled the part as if it had been written for her, so competent was her interpretation. Cast of Present LaughterJacqueline Ward as Daphne Stillington and Dorothy Abbott as Joanna Lyppiatt each vying for Garry’s favour gave first rate performances. Jacqueline had the misfortune of having to compete with an engine noise, but she continued confidently to give her best characterisation yet. Dorothy Abbott as always was excellent. I think she was ideally cast and made the best of a very fine part. Madeline Franklin as Liz Essendine – Garry’s estranged wife, was cool and competent, though she had the unfortunate fault of lowering her voice, on occasions she was inaudible. Completing the cast of ladies was Iris Doms as Miss Erikson, a Scandinavian cook, and Eleanor Bowthorpe as Lady Saltburn, Daphne’s aunt. Of the men, Ron Latham had the hilarious part of Roland Maule, inspired to write plays through his great adoration for Garry. From his first appearance to his last, Roland Maule was a comic who really had the appreciative audience in furores of laughter. Minor roles were taken by Conrad Sherwin – Henry Lyppiate, Joanna’s husband, and Henry Riley as Fred the Butler. The only fault was the miscasting of Tony Faulkner as Garry’s business manager, I thought him too young, as Morris Dixon who had been managing Garry’s affairs for 20 years. However, I thoroughly enjoyed this grand effort and look forward to the next.

R.F.J
Published in The East Kent Mercury 26th November 1964

Production Team

Production Team

Director Tony Kilshawe
Front of House Bert Bradshaw
Stage Director Philip Bowthorpe
Props Mollie Bryce & Thelma Faulkner
Lighting & Effects Robin Varney & Victor Twyman
Scenery & Décor Tony Kilshawe, Reuben Atkinson & Tony Lawson

Cast of Present LaughterCast of Present Laughter