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Laughter on the 23rd Floor - Review

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by Douglas Sutherland-Bruce (subscribe)
Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at:
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Laughter in the ugience, in the ushers and the foyer
You seldom see plays like Laughter on the 23rd Floor much any more. It is a play entirely without a message, other than perhaps 'laughter is good' or 'professional humorists are seldom happy or very well adjusted.'

It is a subject the playwright, Neil Simon, knows well. He got his start writing for the Sid Caesar Show in the 50s, and this play is a nostalgic and affectionate look back at a time that can never be repeated.

Max Prince, Neil Simon, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Mel Brooks, Woody Allen
Igor Sas, Peter Rowsthorn, Humphrey Bower, Ben Mortley, Jo Morris, James Sweeny and Stuart Halusz. Laughter on the 23rd Floor (Photograph by Gary Marsh Photography)

The staging, by Black Swan, and the direction by Kate Cherry were perfection. Timing, as well all know, in vital in comedy and the highly talented ensemble cast played the fast-paced play to perfection.

The set, in particular was superb and helped, but did not dominate, the action - bautifully designed and produced.

I'm not sure the whole Australian audience got all the nuances of Senator McCarthy's contribution to the play, but in the end, like most of the plot and sub-plots, it really doesn't matter.

The absolute stand-out in an excellent cast was Peter Rowsthorn as Max Prince/Sid Caesar. A role calling for considerable physical comedy as well as the more usual vocal kind, he was phenomenal.

After disappointing in The Importance of Being Earnest, where he was woefully miscast, he was triumphant in this part, which might have been written for him, so perfectly did he embody the role.

The season runs until the 21st September at the Heath Ledger Centre, William Street, Perth and I urge you, if you can, to see this charming, witty and entertaining play.

Very Highly Recommended.

Max Prince, Neil Simon, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Mel Brooks, Woody Allen

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Why? An hilarious reminiscence of live TV
When: 6 September till 19 September
Where: Heath Ledger Theatre, 182 William Street, Perth
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