Noël Coward’s Present Laughter is a timeless farce first produced in 1942, and you might recall a production from London’s Old Vic theater recently screened at the Bing. Now you can see the ribald activities of actor Garry Essendine and his coterie of friends, business associates and other hangers-on live in the flesh, thanks to the Spokane Civic’s production in its studio space. The aging matinee idol at the play’s center is a stand-in for Coward himself, and his worlds start colliding in evermore violent and hilarious ways just as he’s preparing to leave on a tour of Africa. Between juggling romantic interests and coming to grips with the fact he’s just turned (gasp!) 40, Essendine makes for a fine target of a night’s laughs.
Jan. 10-Feb. 2; Thu-Sat at 7:30 pm, Sun at 2 pm • $25 • Spokane Civic Theatre • 1020 N. Howard St. • spokanecivictheatre.com • 325-2507
— Dan Nailen