It all started with Shelley’s poem To a Skylark. That’s where Noel Coward found the title for his 1941 hit, Blithe Spirit. The play caused quite a stir when it opened in the West End district of London with World War II in full swing, because of the light-hearted theme of death.
Successful British novelist Charles Condomine (Kenneth Gray), and his second wife, Ruth (Jennifer Lee Vernon) have invited Doctor and Mrs. Bradman, (Charlene Buhlert and Patrick Hubbard) over for a seance conducted by Madame Arcati (Katherine Charles). One might call it just a bit of evening’s amusement, like going to the theatre without the bloody drive. What ensues, however, is not the expected. Madame Arcati actually does bring by the first Mrs. Condomine, Elvira (deja bleu Ginsberg). The farcical plot begins.
Director Randall Hickman has created a delightful version of Blithe Spirit. Vernon gives Ruth a nice edge, a bit snobby, a bit controlling, and definitely quite upset with Elvira’s return. Ginsberg plays the young Elvira with a combination of petulance, coquettishness, and determination. Then there is the very strange maid Edith (Katie Gonzales) who rushes about everywhere until Ruth forces her to slow down. This turns into an exaggerated slow motion long stride that brings the house down. Gonzales doubles as the tech, requiring her to be at two places only seconds apart.
Blithe Spirit is guaranteed to elicit laughs from the audiences. Each character is well defined within the strictures of farce. Buhlert and Hubbard, whom we see to little of, add a pleasant balance to the antics of the others. Charles brings great comedic touches to Madam Arcati. The conflict and eventual resolution between Ruth and Elvira is an audience pleaser. I hope you have an opportunity to shakes your cares away for an evening with Blithe Spirit.
Premiere Productions’ Blithe Spirit is playing at the Broadway Theatre, 340 East Broadway, Vista, Thursday thru Sunday to November 11, 2007. For reservations please call the box office at 760 806-7905.
Katie Gonzales, Jennifer Lee Vernon, Kenneth Gray, Charlene Buhlert, Patrick Hubbard, Katherine Charles, Deja Blue Ginsberg
Producers Randal Hickman & Douglas Davis, Director/Set Design/Costume Coordination/Sound & Lighting Design Randall Hickman
Total Rating: Three Stars
Playwright: Noel Coward
Director: Randall Hickman
Date Reviewed: October 4, 2007
127 minutes with a 15-minute intermission
Dates: Thursday thru Sunday, October 4 to November 11, 2007
Broadway Theatre – an independent Theatre
340 East Broadway
Vista, California, 92084
Box Office Phone 760 806-7905