Return to Coward for play producer

Leigh Cunningham as Daphne Stillington and Jonathan Fost as Garry Essendine.
Leigh Cunningham as Daphne Stillington and Jonathan Fost as Garry Essendine.
Tom Chambers as Bobby in Crazy For You. Picture by Richard Davenport

REVIEW: Crazy For You, at Mayflower Theatre in Southampton

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David Lippiett was brought up on Noel Coward plays. As a teenager his taste leaned more towards John Osborne, but as he got older he came to appreciate Noel Coward again.

He says: ‘I became my own kind of angry man, like John Osborne. It’s only as I’ve matured that I’ve gone back, and now I’m 75.’

That’s why David decided, with One Off Productions to put on Present Laughter, which is being performed at the Kings Theatre, Southsea, from Wednesday until Saturday.

The Noel Coward play follows self-obsessed actor Garry Essendine as he prepares to pay a visit to Africa.

David explains: ‘I want to put on plays that are part of the school curriculum, or playwrights that are on the school curriculum. It’s likely that students will come and see it if they’re studying it.

‘The Kings is a comparatively new home for us but I love it there.’

And working on the 1939 play, David has realised he finds it funnier than ever.

‘I think it’s such a delightful play and the leading character has been played by many fine actors, including Ian McKellen and Samuel West.

‘It’s widely assumed that he is based on Noel Coward himself. I don’t think Coward ever admitted that it was, but it’s generally accepted that way. I just think it’s an extremely funny play.’

Tickets: £7 to £12 from the Kings Theatre, Southsea, on (023) 9282 8282 or go to