The Noël Coward play Blithe Spirit is currently playing at the Princess of Wales theatre in Toronto as part of the 2014-2015 Mirvish season. I attended the evening performance on March 11th.
The production stars Dame Angela Lansbury as Madame Arcati, Charles Edwards as Charles Condomine, Charlotte Parry as Ruth Condomine, Melissa Woodbridge as Elvira Condomine, Susan Louise O’Connor as Edith the Maid, Simon Jones as Dr. Bradman, and Sandra Shipley as Mrs. Bradman. The musical interludes were sung by Christine Ebersole. The director is Michael Blakemore.
The plot revolves the visit of a medium (Madame Arcati) to the home of a successful author (Charles Condomine) and the return of Mr. Condomine’s late wife, Elvira, as a spirit.
The star of the show of course is Dame Angela Lansbury, at the age of 89, playing Madame Arcati. Her performance was outstanding, and she moved around the stage with apparent ease. When she was going into a trance, she was prancing around the stage to great laughs and enjoying making the audience laugh.
The other star of the performance is Charles Edward, familiar to many for his appearances in Downton Abbey as Mr. Gregson. He performance as a husband who has to deal with both his current wife and the spirit of his late wife and the the fact that his current wife cannot see – or hear – the spirit. His portrayal allowed for a good deal of laughter as he would consistently answer his late wife, while irritating his current wife, Ruth.
Sarah Louise O’Connor’s Edith was also amusing. Especially when she is cleaning the breakfast table and leans over a chair to pick up the tray. Not only did her feet have to leave the floor to do this, she also picked up the chair along with the tray – causing the audience to break out in laughter.
The cast is well rounded and excellent. There was laughter from start to finish.
Dame Angela is sensational and shows how excellent an actress she really is.
Blithe Spirit runs until March 15th, 2015 at the Princess of Wales. Tickets can be purchased through mirvish.com, but some of the remaining shows are totally sold out.
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