"Everybody worships me," he declares in a revealing moment. "It's nauseating."
Summoning recollections of John Barrymore in Twentieth Century, Kline dominates the evening in a superb performance that is both scene stealing and generous to his strong cast of supporting players. Tedra Millan as a debutante, Ellen Harvey as his frumpy Scandanavian maid and cook, Kristine Nielsen as Essendine's bemused secretary-enabler, Kate Burton as his wife, Bhavesh Patel as a wannabe playwright-cum-stalker, Reg Rogers as Essendine's director, and Cobie Smulders as a destructive lust-object for each of the male principals, all stand out despite their presence in the hilarious crowd doing endless bits of business around Kline.
Though Carter was dressed like a typical any-night theatergoer, in a
The cast arrived late and Kline, for one, looked like he'd used up his good humor onstage as he posed for the step-and-repeat piranha. He can be forgiven; he's seen it all before. The reaction of the crowd made it clear they would happily see his Present Laughter again and again and again.
As one character says, not entirely kindly, "It might actually work....in New York."