Running since March 2017 Oscar and two-time Tony winner Kevin Kline stars in a revival of Noël Coward's backstage comedy that follows an actor dealing with a mid-life crisis.
From the producers: "Present Laughter" follows a self-obsessed actor in the midst of a mid-life crisis. Juggling his considerable talent, ego and libido, the theater's favorite leading man suddenly finds himself caught between fawning ingénues, crazed playwrights, secret trysts and unexpected twists.
"Present Laughter" was written by Noël Coward in 1939 and first staged in 1942 on tour. This will be the sixth Broadway production since its author debuted it in 1946, taking the role of successful light-play author Garry Essendine for himself. Coward revived it in 1958, again as the star. It was done again in 1982, starring George C. Scott (with early-career Nathan Lane as the aspiring writer Roland Maule), in 1998 with Frank Langella as Essendine, and in 2010 starring Victor Garber.
Kevin Kline, a member of the legendary inaugural season of The Acting Company, received Tony Awards for his roles in "On the Twentieth Century" in 1978 and "The Pirates of Penzance" in 1981. Kline was seen on Broadway most recently in the 2007 revival of "Cyrano de Bergerac." He won an Academy Award for his performance in the 1988 film "A Fish Called Wanda."
Uneven but enjoyable...Kline [builds] a paradoxically natural performance as a man for whom the histrionic gesture is a conditioned reflex. It is hard not to wish that the heavy farcical high jinks that surround him were on his high level. The staging brings out the more boisterous aspects of Coward's comedy, occasionally to hilarious, but just as often labored, ends. And the pace needs to be picked up throughout.
Kline appears to be having the time of his life...It's a role [he] takes to it like, well, a pig to slop. It's a fast-paced and straightforward production, featuring two equally delightful and delighted costars plus a mixed bag of supporting players. It all comes together, as it must, in a madcap second act where doors are slammed, people are hidden, and truths are finally, somewhat dizzily, revealed.