Some of the best shows I have seen are shows that I have not read up on beforehand, and therefore I arrived at Lychett Matravers Village Hall with little to no expectation or knowledge of what it was that I was going to watch. I’m glad to say that I was not disappointed.
Blithe Spirit is a comedy written by Noel Coward. Charles Condomime, a novelist and socialite, invites the eccentric medium and clairvoyant Madame Arcati into his home to conduct a séance in the hope of retrieving some new material for his new novel, much to the amusement of his current wife and house guests. This rather backfires when Madame Arcati, previously assumed to be a fraud, invites Charles’ first deceased wife into his home, with very amusing results.
Charles, played by Simon Langford, was a very believable character with great comic timing. He was paired very well with his wife Ruth, played by Deanna Langford. The pair had a genuine chemistry on stage and played husband and wife so well it was difficult to believe they were acting!
The character of Madame Arcati has an expectation of being eccentric and slightly bizarre, and Carole Allen plays the role to perfection. She has great characterisation throughout and really commands the stage. Kudos to both Deanna and Carole in the scene between Ruth and Madame Arctati; it’s extremely funny and you needed only to hear the audience chucking along to see what a good job both actresses were doing.
In the ethereal role of Elvira, Charles’ first wife, Lindsay O’Neill was a great choice for the part. She portrays the character very well, with excellent facial expressions throughout and gives off a sulky, manipulative, childish air that was very amusing. My only piece of feedback is that as a ghostly spirit, the portrayal was diminished slightly by stomping across the stage occasionally.
Doctor Bradman, played by Richard Owen, did a great job of playing the bumbling disbelieving Doctor and Mrs Bradman, played by Val Holland, was a good affable addition to the group. Sarah Peacock was a great, slightly creepy, Edith. Without giving too much away, Christine Orridge has done an excellent job with the ghost costumes and the make-up is perfect.
The set was detailed and did a very good job of making the audience feel like they were a part of the scene. It was also very intricate, with many little trinkets that made it feel like a genuine living room. The detail makes more sense later in the play, when the audience are treated to some clever play with the scenery!
Overall, the evening was very enjoyable and entertaining. If you are at a loose end, I would highly recommend going to see this play.