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Great Scott!

Having failed to get in to see Present Laughter at the Old Vic for a second viewing last summer, I booked instead to see the NT Live Encore film showing of the production in my local (very upmarket) school theatre.

I was afraid beforehand that my recollection of how wonderful the production had been was exaggerated and also that, without the immediacy of being in the theatre – and the fact that this was not even ‘live’ now, because the show closed months ago – the performances would not be as sparkling. Fortunately, my fears were misplaced, and apart from the slightly annoying introduction which preceded the production, it was another excellent evening. Importantly, my husband laughed a lot and enjoyed it too – so I didn’t feel I was indulging myself too much.

And Andrew Scott! Every bit as amazing this time round. With his fame still increasing with each award season, I wonder how his experience of playing Garry Essendine reflects his current real life.

In fact, it was Present Laughter, in the front row at the Old Vic for one of the previews in June 2019, that set me off on my quest to see as much theatre as I can, now that I have the freedom to book at the last minute or shop around for cheap deals. 

And it has also been my sporadic obsession with Andrew Scott (and Phoebe Waller-Bridge) which has led me to discover various directors, films, podcasts and theatres – so hurrah for that (despite my obvious concern about distractions in my previous blog-post from when I attended the live production. My short review of Present Laughter from that time is here.)

F*** Fleabag

I was as captivated with Fleabag Series 2 as everyone else at the time it was aired a few months back. I watched several episodes more than once and briefly followed the press and screen coverage of the marvellous Waller-Bridge. I joined in with the nation’s gasps over the Hot Priest whilst relishing the delightful awfulness of the soon-to-be-Oscared (ok, for another role, but still…) stepmother and enjoying the whole ensemble piece. It was fantastic and, like so many other people, I re-watched Series 1 and congratulated everyone on all of it before moving on. Hurrah. No, seriously, proper hurrah, I am in awe Ms Phoebe.

But now, it must be a couple of months past and I had indeed moved on, until I – by an almost accident – ended up in the front row of the Old Vic for a preview performance of Noel Coward’s ‘Present Laughter’ with Andrew Scott (the erstwhile HP). Now, I’m not going to pretend I didn’t know he was in it; to be sure that was one of the reasons to go.  But I had not expected to be as impressed – indeed quite mesmerised – and now I’m really annoyed because it has reawakened my interest in him and also in Phoebe, such that I have spent most of today looking at Youtube clips and interviews of each of them when I should have been completing a serious article. Which is now not done. I’ve thought of a few other subjects to write about as a result (e.g. here’s my review) but that’s not the point.

By the way, I love the way the Old Vic publicity on Twitter for ‘Present Laughter’ includes renaming Waterloo as Water o’loo in an Irish accent, but Mr Scott’s performance is delivered in impeccable Coward English. 


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