Theatre: Present Laughter

Tuesday night after digesting an unusual chicken curry meal, I was ready to see the Noël Coward play Present Laughter with Anna. We decided that rather than seeing it at the start of the run, a frightfully witty Coward play would be just the thing to keep those post-Christmas January blues away. What kept us entertained was not the acting or the witty script, but the thought that the show was going to be short. Oh how wrong we were. But we weren't the only ones. At the end of act one half the audience was in such a need of a drink they got up and headed to the exits only to be turned away... There was more to come.

It wasn't until about 9pm did we get an intermission. By that time we both realised that coffee was more important than gin to get through the remaining ninety minutes. Ah yes, we were firmly in the realms of the National Theatre where every play gets the worthy treatment... Every pause is made to last... Every unnecessary addition (such as the radio announcement of war breaking out, like what the...?) adding minutes to the run time of the show... While you certainly get your money's worth going to the National Theatre, the directors usually like to make you suffer for their art...

Still it was such an enjoyable play thanks to the great cast. They were all rather fabulous in the marathon that become this play... And even though the coffee is truly awful at the National, it did the trick in keeping one alert and laughing at all the right parts.

As for the play itself, the central message about the play seemed to be it is all fine to have sex with all your friends providing there are lots of cigarettes and gin involved. The amount of on stage smoking was enough to make one want to take it up, particularly as it started wafted into the theatre. It seemed like such a sophisticated thing to do...

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