Laughter, Fun, and a Good 'ol Time are Definitely Present in Cygnet's Latest Production

With Spot-on Timing Delivered by a Wonderful Cast 

A Blog View by Alejandra Enciso-Dardasht

Sean Murray. Photo by Karli Cadel
Cygnet Theatre encompassed the theatre-going experience with their latest production Present Laughter by British playwright Noël Coward. Going to the theatre is already exciting but like with everything, it can be hit or miss. In this case, it was definitely a hit as the piece is a light, fun, and hilarious high-paced comedy which is not easy to find when it comes to British humor, especially from the 1930s.

'Laughter unfolds in acting star Garry Essendine's (Sean Murray) home where his staff made by his assistant Monica Reed (Melissa Fernandes), Fred the butler (Drew Bradford), and Miss Erickson (Annie Hinton) take care of the different business and domestic matters that surround him. At a party the night before, Garry met Daphne Stillington (Lindsey Young), much younger than him and who conveniently lost her latchkey. Essendine chivalrously offers her to stay in his guest bedroom downstairs. Not showing what happened but definitely implied, Daphne the next morning is totally infatuated with Garry. The staff is not phased by the young beauty's presence, on the contrary, it is like any other day but with a couple of added eye-rolls. The actor ushers her away, and the chaos unfolds as he prepares to work on a tour in Africa. Liz (Shana Wride), Garry's wife who left him years ago, still takes care of his deals as well as him. People start popping into the house including his manager, Morris Dixon (Steven Lone), and producer, Henry Lyppiatt (James Newcomb). Dixon is having an affair with Lyppiatt's wife Joanna (Amanda Sitton) who is plotting to get into Garry's pants adding a third charm to her bracelet. If the plot is not twisted like a pretzel already, add the young starting-out playwright Roland Maule (Trevor Cruse) who has an appointment with Garry to read his play and get feedback but, guess what? he too is obsessed with the star. Heated arguments, escaping attempts and intended trips to Africa take place as true love shows its face while everyone else, finds their fate.

The cast of Present Laughter. Photo by Karli Cadel
Rosina Reynolds's clean direction geared the cast through a hilarious, fun-filled delivery. Seeing Reynolds do such a good job with a comedy, truly shows her ability as usually her work is mostly in serious, loaded pieces so this different phase gave a great chapter. Sean Murray is fantastic as the ego-filled, histrionic heartthrob who made a wonderful stage match with Shana Wride. Shana is a natural and darn good at what she does. Always clear and melodious. There was definitely ad-libbing at the performance that I saw and it made it even funnier. Each actor meshed timing with their scene partner or partners effortlessly which not only presented the audience with a gas of a time, but a theatre communion and little nuggets of congeniality accompanying each laugh. 

Elisa Benzoni's costume design was literally tailored to the time as well as each character's personality like the three love interests, where each displayed sensuality, boldness, and formality. Tony Cucuzzella as always created a realistic, in-depth scenic design of Garry's two-story home/office -and infamous guest room- that made an impression along with Bonnie Durbin's props that were the perfect complement. 

Cygnet Theatre's production of Present Laughter is the complete package with a solid direction, round cast, and a merry good time. 

Currently playing until April 29. For performance times and ticket prices please click HERE

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