Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Blythe Spirit"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2008 by Tony Annicone

"Blythe Spirit"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The opening show of Granite Theatre's season is Noel Coward's 1940 comedy, "Blithe Spirit". The show was written to take Britain's mind off the bombing of their country by the German air force during World War II. It is an otherwordly comedy about urbane writer, Charles Condomine and his playfully sarcastic second wife, Ruth. Charles invites an eccentric medium, Madame Arcati to his home 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 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 David Jepson who also plays the huge role of Charles who not only has an impeccable British accent but delivers his 800 lines beautifully. His high energy and attention to detail is seen in his direction and acting. Deb Bacewicz does an excellent job as the worried and put upon second wife, Ruth who gets caught in Elvira's web of deceit. Her biting line delivery of her lines make her stand out in this role. Ruth must contend with Elvira's crazy antic, Charles' strange behavior and Madame Arcati's wacky tantrums. She handles the part with ease, making the audience feel for her predicament. Beth Jepson plays the mischievous, Elvira clad in a gray evening gown and wearing a blonde wig. She oozes sex as she returns to claim Charles as her own. She throws things, turns on the gramophone and loves scaring Ruth who can't see her. Beth gives the audience many laughs with her crazy antics.

Mary Sue Chiaradio is Madame Arcati who claims to be a psychic but is she? She screams, yells faints and conducts seances to help Charles get rid of Elvira. Mary Sue has many funny lines and makes the most of them all. Arthur Pignataro and Patricia Spencer Smith play Dr. and Mrs. Bradman who witness the first seance when Elvira comes back to life. They bring an energetic power to their performances. Kendra Johnson plays the scatter brained maid who constantly runs back and forth to the kitchen and answer the door. She gets to show off her singing voice near the end of the show. Michael Chiaradio as the stage manager, makes the special effects at the end of the show while Kendra's real life mother, Morgan Ban Draoi handles the light and sound execution. David LaRocque created all the wonderful sound effects. So for a trip back to the 1940's, be sure to catch to catch "Blithe Spirit" at the Granite Theatre. (All the lovely period costumes are by Beth and Paula Pendola. Loved the hat with the feather.)

"Blythe Spirit" ( 28 March - 20 April)
GRANITE THEATRE
1 Granite Street, Westerly, RI
1 (401) 596-2341

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

| MARQUEE | USHER | SEATS | INTERMISSION | CURTAIN |