Susan Stanley-Carroll highly recommends current production
David Tarkenter and Matt Wake in the Last Laugh. Picture: Andreas Grieger
The ‘Last Laugh’, an adapted play by Richard Harris and on at the Chiswick Tabard, is a wonderfully witty and intelligent production that brought wave after wave of laughter on its opening night last Wednesday.
The production, about a determined young writer negotiating the approval of his comic script with an obstinate, cynical censor, is based on an original Japanese play by Kōki Mitani that dates back to 1996.
It is a superb drama as it explores the essence of comedy, censorship, and unfurls the relationship between two very opposed characters.
David Tarkenter, a seriously experienced actor, plays the role of the Censor, with intensity and brilliance. His timing is exemplary. And he is balanced perfectly with Matt Wake’s skilfully nuanced performance, as the confused young writer.
Quite astonishingly the two actors, one exceptionally experienced and the other recently out of drama school, parry and joust words with each other to create at times deeply poignant moments and also deliver pungent puns that develop into peals of laughter that, at times, appeared to make the very roof of the Tabard tremble.
The crisp set designed by Hardy Gru seemed to enlarge the overall size of the Tabard’s small stage and Nat Green’s lighting supported the changing atmosphere in the script.
Nick Bromley’s deft direction is, as always, immaculate.
Emphatically a Tabard production not to be missed. Fingers crossed it will go on tour and move to the West End (Why not? Think of the success of ‘Stones in the Pocket’!). It really is a show to be enjoyed not only by a West London audience but also by a West End theatre goers.
Tickets are £23.50 or £19.50 for concessions.
You can book online on the Tabard Theatre web site or call the box office on 020 8995 6035.
Theatre at the Tabard is at 2 Bath Road, Chiswick (W4 1LW).
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November 20, 2022