I caught a preview performance of the Gate Theatre’s Present Laughter last night at the freshly restored Dock Street Theatre. The old girl has been done up quite nice, with repointed brick, spacious new bathrooms (with lots of stalls), and cushions on the seats.

The Dock Street’s historic pews have always been a bottomless source of agony for theater-goers. They warned us back in 2007 not to get too hyped about the seats being made more comfortable, and last night’s two-and-a-half hour performance put them to the test.

For the first half of the play, it was fine. The cushions did their job, making the straight stiff-backed pew much more hospitable. Pre-cushions, your back and bottom would be aching from act one. With cushions, I didn’t start squirming — until after intermission. But once the discomfort set in, it was agony, pure agony. I couldn’t wait for the curtains, or even the obligatory Charleston standing O, so I could stretch my legs. Oy.