Reviewed by Wendy Mildren
Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit is a very wordy play – not a knee-slapper, but extremely witty. For Shaun Taylor’s directorial debut it was a brave choice, but ably supported by Maggie Smith as Assistant Director, it worked extremely well.
Novelist Charles Condomine is on his second marriage, as his first wife, Elvira, died seven years before. He and his second wife, Ruth, have decided to hold a dinner party inviting the local clairvoyant, Madam Arcati so that he can gain some inside information for his next book. Unfortunately, during the course of the séance Elvira’s ghost materialises, but only Charles can see and hear her.
Terry Crowe as Charles played his part beautifully. He managed to portray his character as very stiff upper lip, egotist with just a touch of bounder. He handled the large portion of dialogue well. Pat Vice, as his second wife, Ruth handled the dialogue well, although some variation in her tones would have lifted her part. Alex Ling as Dr. Bradman sported a ludricrous comb-over hair style and played his part somewhat over the top, but it produced laughs from the enthusiastic audience. Bianca Smith who played Mrs. Bradman and Dayna O’Brien who played the maid, Edith, made the most of their small roles. Elizabeth Barber as Elvira played the restless shade extremely well.
Of course, the show stealer was Linda Edwards as Madam Arcati. She played the role to the hilt with shades of Margaret Rutherford. The costumes for the production worked well, most especially Madam Arcati’s hats complete with feet-long feathers! All of the cast were to be congratulated on the speed of the pickup of their cues, which made the action move swiftly.
The set was splendid and worked well and was impressively dressed. Lighting was right on the mark and sound effects, in the main, were very good. Inter act music was a little slow, but this will probably improve as the season progresses. In all, a successful production.