Starring Kevin Kline
Written by Noel Coward
Directed by Moritz Von Stuelpnagel
St. James Theatre
June 21, 2017
💉💉 out of 5.
Kevin Kline is just so good in this – – but there is just so much of this! After seeing 1984 last night I was so eager to see a play that behaved itself and delivered some acting and some story. Present Laughter, I thought – – there’s the remedy.
It was such a beautiful play. A gorgeous set full of theatrical decadence with doors a plenty and plenty of furniture to poise, pontificate, and pursue a dalliance. The language of Noel Coward is so rich and so wonderfully sarcastic. It is so nice to hear a play that has vocabulary that reaches beyond two syllables. Another real treat in the play is Kristine Nielsen as the personal secretary; I a still laughing from the work she did in Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike. She is a comic genius.
And Kevin Kline, of course, is just perfect for the role. He is at the right age, and the wealth of experience he has with Shakespeare makes him a true Thespian, in the most wonderfully pretentious way! It is hard to think of any actor that could wrap himself around a Noel Coward play and artfully as Kevin Kline. I just wished that he had started with Blithe Spirt or Private Lives. These two plays go somewhere. They put a bit more plot around all the clever lines and beautiful clothes. I just found Present Laughter so stuck in the sand – – it kept spinning its wheels but it just didn’t move – and the audience was soon napping away. Not me – but I was imagining him on the veranda of Private Lives.