Veterans cast in anniversary showcase

Kate Normington and Patrick Ryecart in rehearsals for Present Laughter.

To celebrate 30 years of entertainment at Theatre on the Bay, Pieter Toerien has assembled a star-studded cast to bring Noël Coward’s timeless comedy, Present Laughter to life in a production that is being staged until Saturday March 10.

London’s West End star, Patrick Ryecart leads the company, starring as Gary Essendine, a flamboyant leading-man finding himself in the middle of mid-life crisis.

When asked why he agreed to take on the role, Ryecart said he had bumped in to Toerien at London’s famous restaurant, The Ivy, and the pair agreed to collaborate on two projects, the first being Present Laughter and the second being a localised production of Fatal Attraction.

Ryecart has enjoyed accolades throughout his extensive career, having been compared to Richard Burton. His versatility has become one of his trademarks, having won acclaim on stage, film and television.

During his short stay in Cape Town, Ryecart says he has been submerged in the script and staging rehearsals, but always manages to take in the glorious Camps Bay sunset.

Beachgoers, although familiar with actors learning lines on the white beaches, may mistake this West End legend as a local, Ryecart says, showing off his already impressive tan.

Asked why he decided to take on the project, director Fred Abrahmse says,

“I love classical theatre. And, on top of that, when do get a chance to work with 10 actors? When Pieter asked if I would like to direct the play, I laughed and said, “Of Course I would. Let me cast the show around Patrick Ryecart and off we go”.

Abrahamse continues, saying: “Forget the waters woes and come and enjoy a side-splitting evening of world-class comedy”.

Tickets range in price from R120 to R220. Book through Computicket.

Dean Roberts is a publicist for Theatre on the Bay.