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    "A virtuoso performance."
    The Evening Standard
    Panache fills the entire theatre.
    The Times

Present Laughter tickets

The divine silliness of Noёl Coward’s comedy meets Matthew Warchus' acclaimed direction in this revival of Present Laughter. Starring the inimitable Andrew Scott, the production is one for the diary. Catch it at the Old Vic from 17 June 2019.

Described by playwright Coward as "a series of semi-autobiographical pyrotechnics", Present Laughter was written in 1939, although it wasn't produced until 1942. The piece has been treated to many revivals, starring stage legends such as Albert Finney, Peter O'Toole, Ian McKellen and Rik Mayall.

This classic comedy revolves around self-interested matinée idol Garry Essendine as he juggles an onslaught of personal and professional relationships. Besides his house staff, put-upon secretary and his manager, he must deal with his estranged wife and a bevy of seductresses, all while navigating an impending mid-life crisis.

Andrew Scott stars as Garry. Scott's remarkable career straddles film, television and stage; it includes the role of Moriarty in Sherlock (which won him a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor) and more recently, the priest in Fleabag. His stage appearances include starring turns in Hamlet and Sea Wall.

Scott is joined onstage by Luke Thallon (The Inheritance), Suzie Toase (One Man, Two Guvnors), Indira Varma (HBO's Game of Thrones) and Sophie Thompson (The Importance of Being Earnest).

Director Matthew Warchus has held the position of Artistic Director at the Old Vic since September 2015. He counts many prestigious awards to his name, including an Olivier for Best Director for his direction of Hamlet, and a Tony for Best Director of a Musical for Groundhog Day.

Set and costume design come from Rob Howell, while lighting is the work of Hugh Vanstone and sound is thanks to Simon Baker.

A stellar cast and a sublimely comical script mean this production of Present Laughter is one to catch. It runs at the Old Vic from 17 June 2019.

Performance dates: 09 Aug 2019 - 10 Aug 2019

Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes (including interval)

Age recommendation: Recommended 11+

Special notice: If you enjoy Noёl Coward’s particular brand of whimsical humour, you'll want to secure tickets to Present Laughter at the Old Vic. Fans of Andrew Scott shouldn't miss this new chance to see him on the London stage.

Latest audience reviews

I had the most fantastic evening. This was written in 1939 - not performed for a few years after, because... More

u2fancat Top 200 reviewer30 Jul 2019

I had the most fantastic evening. This was written in 1939 - not performed for a few years after, because of the outbreak of war: and the art deco set and the costumes reflect this. It's acknowledged to be autobiographical - the central character, based on Coward himself, is a narcissistic showman, adored all his life but now ageing. Still, he seems to have lost none of his charm - and the subject of the play is the constant stream of lovers that he has to fend off! Guess which part Andrew Scott plays? ;-) Actually, it seems that the part was chosen for him - indeed, he absolutely storms the stage, and I'd find it hard to imagine anyone else who could pull off the part. Echoes of James Stewart in parts - but I do confess to being a huge fan of Andrew Scott. Still, watching how he throws himself into it, completely overacting in parts - which adds to the play, I think - and with perfect comic timing and emotional balance, I defy anyone to find fault with his performance. Indeed, the acting in general was praised. Our group were less keen on the play itself. One did remark how it wasn't all lighthearted, and indeed, it seems the original title was Sweet Sorrow. After all, the central character - while apparently adored and living the high life - has one scene where he really seems lonely: and for all that he's constantly wearing a mask, he's often the most truthful character. Interestingly, those homosexual relationships in the play.. weren't originally homosexual! The director made that decision, apparently after ok-ing it with the Coward estate. You wouldn't know it from the writing - it fits in seamlessly. And not only was Coward homosexual - so is Andrew Scott. So it makes perfect sense - not to mention neatly sidestepping the accusations of misogyny that dogged the original (all these women throwing themselves at the Great Man..)

u2fancat Top 200 reviewer30 Jul 2019

Andrew Scott gives a spectacular performance that really elevates this comedy. I found some of the humour... More

LondonLass Top 50 reviewer15 Jul 2019

Andrew Scott gives a spectacular performance that really elevates this comedy. I found some of the humour didn't meet the mark but Scott really helps the pace and tone of the play move along. The final act is hilarious.

LondonLass Top 50 reviewer15 Jul 2019

This show was a LOT funnier than I was expecting! Absolutely hilarious from start to finish. The cast... More

Jamb0r Top 50 reviewer25 Jun 2019

This show was a LOT funnier than I was expecting! Absolutely hilarious from start to finish. The cast were all excellent and it was a joy to watch Andrew Scott play a character so different to anything else I’d seen him to both on stage and screen. Definitely recommended!

Jamb0r Top 50 reviewer25 Jun 2019

Fabulous! Very funny, all the cast were excellent (except for person playing a “Scandinavian” who's accent... More

leepeddie 24 Jun 2019

Fabulous! Very funny, all the cast were excellent (except for person playing a “Scandinavian” who's accent kept veering towards South Africa, which was a little distracting). Andrew Scott was brilliant - perfect comic timing in the perfect role. Marvellous.

leepeddie 24 Jun 2019

The show lived up to its name with an energetic delivery. The strong cast was clearly in full control... More

pl6125 21 Jun 2019

The show lived up to its name with an energetic delivery. The strong cast was clearly in full control of the script, confident in their comic timing. Andrew Scott's fan club was also well represented (and rightly so). The attempt to bring the script up to date by swapping the gender of certain characters was an interesting angle. I'm not sure if it really added anything or not, which I guess is ironically a positive. There was some modern music played right at the end which seemed to jar with the intact pre-war setting.

pl6125 21 Jun 2019

A really outstanding performance from Andrew Scott brings this fun, farcical frippery to sparkling life.... More

jenniepollock 18 Jun 2019

A really outstanding performance from Andrew Scott brings this fun, farcical frippery to sparkling life. The set and costumes serve the whole, and a wonderful supporting cast make for a fabulous night at the theatre. Snap up a ticket if you can.

jenniepollock 18 Jun 2019
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