Whenever you see a Noël Coward play, you can always expect a very enjoyable, witty comedy; Blithe Spirit at Chapel Street Players is no different.
Blithe Spirit has had many incarnations since 1941, including different stage adaptations, film, radio, and even musical. The version that the Chapel Street Players is using is from the 1945 film adaptation. Much of the dialogue is very British, and the cast succeeds in taking control of the language so that it does not sound stilted. As is common on opening nights, there was a bit of stumbling over lines and a dropped accent here and there, but overall the show is very solid, and quite funny!
Madame Arcati leads the seance. Photo credit: Che-Yu (Peter) Kuo
We start with Charles Condomine (Curtis King), who wants to find inspiration for his next novel. He invites a clairvoyant over to conduct a séance. When Madame Arcati (Marlene Hummel) arrives, all hell breaks loose. Charles' first wife Elvira (Tricia LaRock) appears, and can't, or doesn't want to, leave. Tricia shines as the high maintenance, mischievous ghost. Ruth Condomine (Cindy Starcher) is the exact opposite of Elvira—very grounded. The three actors have great chemistry in one of the strangest on-stage love triangles.
Ruth Condomine (seated) vying her her husband's attention. Photo credit: Che-Yu (Peter) Kuo
The other characters in the show, Dr. George and Mrs. Violet Bradman (Dan Tucker and Pat Cullinane) and Edith the maid (Linda Kimmelman) don't have much time on-stage, but they still manage to create full characters, especially Dan Tucker. However, it's Madame Arcati that steals the show. Her eccentric séance dancing, fantastic outfits, and attitude about life and afterlife really make Blithe Spirit work.
Madame Arcati conjuring her spirits. Photo credit: Che-Yu (Peter) Kuo
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