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Mad Cow ReviewerReviews

Here are some reviews of our previous productions.

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Review - Present Laughter

An aging, movie idol prone to over-acting, glamorous women, seduction and lies – Noel Coward’s comedy classic Present Laughter is wonderfully brought to life at the Theatre Severn.

Shropshire theatre group Mad Cow Productions pulls out all of the stops for its latest production which packs a theatrical punch – it is classy, funny and cleverly acted.

Coward’s classic farce follows the shenanigans of self-obsessed theatre star Garry Essendine with every act is set in his London flat. He is about to embark on a tour of Africa, however, his life has become rather complicated. There’s a posse of women vying for his affections, members of staff having affairs with each other’s wives – and an obsessed playwright from Uckfield who won’t take no for an answer. Inevitably a farce ensues.

It is a gigantic role with big boots to fill, but Sebastian Ashfield effortlessly immerses himself in the role of Garry, capturing his self-centred nature to a tee. Fiona Hankin is perfectly cast as Essendine’s unflappable secretary Monica Reed who refuses to pander to her boss’s egotism; while Emma Hedges warmly brings to life the role of Liz Essendine – Garry’s controlling estranged wife.

Credit must also go to Ryan Brown as Garry’s valet, Nikki Holmes as the eccentric Miss Erikson and Ellie Giblin as the minxy Joanna. This may be an amateur theatre group in name, but definitely not in presentation.

Present Laughter is slick and professional. In true Mad Cow fashion, producers Alex Hinton and Lisa Lowarch have pulled out all the stops on the scenery and the costumes – all of which are suitably ‘Broadway’. That it is staged in Theatre Severn’s intimate Walker Theatre adds to the ‘drawing room’ feel of this production – and we, the audience, are gladly eavesdropping on Garry’s chaotic life.