Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Blithe Spirit"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2011 by Tony Annicone

"Blithe Spirit"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The opening show of Theatre Works 29th season is Noel Coward's, "Blithe Spirit". The show was written in 1941 to take Britain's mind off the bombing of their country by the German air force. It is an otherworldly comedy about an urbane writer, Charles Condomine and his playfully sarcastic second wife, Ruth. Charles invites a local eccentric medium, Madame Arcati to his home to conduct a seance, in an effort to expose her as a fake. When Madame Arcati accidentally causes Charles' dead first wife, Elvira to materialize, havoc ensues, as Elvira decides she desperately wants Charles back causing a battle of will and wits with Ruth. Throw in their doctor and his wife as well as a dippy half-witted maid and you have the ingredients for this comic show.

The show is directed by first time director Josh Smith. He sets the show in the 1940's and uses music from that era and he trims the show down by editing the script. The gorgeous British home is by Mark Anderson while the beautiful costumes are by Sharon Charette. The set is rigged to fall apart when Charles leaves his home for good and it is a very impressive moment indeed. Playing the leading role of Charles is Mark Anderson who has over 700 lines in this part. He is marvelous in this role, delivering his lines with high energy in this difficult part. Lynn Nardrowski is topnotch as the worried and put upon second wife, Ruth who gets caught up in Elvira's web of deceit. Her biting delivery makes her stand out in this role. Ruth must contend with Elvira's crazy antics, Charles' strange behavior and Madame Arcati's wacky tantrums. Kim Alessandro plays the mischievous, Elvira clad in a gray evening gown. She oozes sex appeal as she returns to claim Charles as her own. She is very ethereal in this role as she throws things, turns on the gramophone and loves scaring Ruth who can't see her. Kim is captivating in this role, winning many laughs with her crazy antics.

Lisa Forsgard is Madame Arcati who claims to be a psychic but is she? She steals many a scene as she screams, yells, faints and conducts seances to help Charles get rid of Elvira. Lisa has many funny lines and makes them hit paydirt. Chris Kibbe and Lydia Mattera plays Dr. and Mrs. Bradman who witness the first seance when Elvira comes back to life. They bring an energetic power to their roles. Patricia Abrames plays the scatter brained maid, Edith who constantly runs back and forth to the kitchen and answers the door. She gets to show off her singing voice near the end of the show, singing "Always". (I directed Patricia in several shows back in the 1990's.) I directed this show twice in 1981 and 2006.So for a trip back to the 1940's, be sure to catch "Blithe Spirit" at Theatre Works.

"Blithe Spirit" (23 September - 2 October)
THEATRE WORKS
@ Clinton Street, WOONSOCKET RI
1(401)766-1896

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

| MARQUEE | USHER | SEATS | INTERMISSION | CURTAIN |