Present Laughter
Theatre Royal Bath

Widely acknowledged to be Noël Coward’s funniest play, set in the lavish home of the actor Garry Essendine during a near mid-life crisis. Simon Higlett has designed a fantastic set, a double height living room space complete with mezzanine level. Splinter were involved in building the entire set from working bay window shutters to the cast iron spiral staircase.

There are many stand out pieces of the Present Laughter set that took a lot of head scratching and man hours to achieve in the Splinter workshop. Constructing a spiral staircase from scratch that had to give the appearance of a cast iron structure was on of them. With a mixture of materials and methods including laser cutting the treads and rolling a steel hand rail we were able to achieve the brief with great success.

Part of the beauty of Present Laughter is not what the audience sees, but the construction methods that have gone into building a set to be able to tour to 5 different venues. Bearing this in mind Splinter built many of the components such as the fireplace, bookcase and doorways and separate items to the walls that would both break up the weight of the set and also making stacking the set in a lorry more efficient.

The key to this design is in the detail. The majority of the work done in the workshop was done by many hands creating a lavish interior design complete with short wood carvings, vac-formed columns and bendy moldings to follow the smooth neo-classical curves of the design.


Simon Higlett


Theatre Royal Bath


Darren Juggins Photography