21st June 2019
Review by Shaun Tossell
“It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit”
Noël Cowards’ spirited play Blithe Spirit arrives at the Theatre Royal Bath, before an expected West End transfer; with British comedy legend Jennifer Saunders taking on the iconic role of Madam Arcati. Does this latest production of the classic comedy have the magic touch?
Blithe Spirit tells the story of novelist Charles Condomine while researching his latest book, he invites the local, eccentric medium to perform a séance. Things go horribly awry when the ghost of his first wife Elvira appears, visible only to him, determined to sabotage his current marriage to his second and very much alive wife Ruth.
The star of the show here is definitely Jennifer Saunders, who is delightfully kooky as Madam Arcati and had the audience laughing throughout, with her hilarious, expressive performance.
The rest of the cast do a fine job of bringing Coward’s deliciously witty script to life. Special mention goes to Rose Wardlaw who was charmingly awkward as the nervous maid, Edith.
The rest of the production, unfortunately, feels pretty pedestrian. The set design is serviceable and the special effects add a nice touch here and there.
The lighting for this show, on the other hand, was brilliantly atmospheric; subtly bathing Elvira in a blue light throughout the show to give her a ghostly pallor.
This new production of Blithe Spirit is perfectly enjoyable, with a fantastic performance from Jennifer Saunders; fans of Noël Coward should check out this latest take on this spooky tale.