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Theatre Talk takes in 'Present Laughter'

Elizabeth Youngman-Westphal

Special to The Village News

In a sparkling debut at The Cygnet Theatre, scenic designer Tony Cucuzella's set shines in "Present Laughter." Unfortunately, his set is built so well, it averts the one very necessary component of a farce, door slamming. Nary a one.

Adding to the panache is Elisa Benzoni's period costume design, Bonnie Durben's meticulous prop placements, and Colby Freel's spot-on-lighting design.

On the other hand, the plague of every sound designer is a coughing audience. That said, TJ Fucella needs to turn up the volume (and fix the doorbell chime and telephone ring). Last Sunday, too often the fake-falsetto British accents are absorbed by spontaneous eruptions from spectators. And wouldn't ya know, the only real Brit is dialect consultant Vanessa Dinning; too bad, she isn't in this cast.

Even director Rosina Reynolds could not breathe life into this old show. It is reminiscent of Hefner at the Playboy mansion. The fact of the matter is Noel Coward wrote this in 1943. That is 80 years ago, while then it may have been considered urbane, alas, today it has lost its charm.

True to its decree, "overacting" is clearly in place. Now playing until April 29 at 4040 Twiggs St. in Old Town San Diego. For tickets and times, call 619-337-1525 or visit Rated 6 out of 10.

Elizabeth can be reached at [email protected].


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