THE CROWDS definitely left the auditorium in high spirits when the Norbury Theatre staged one of the nation’s favourite plays.
Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit is a fantastic story which centres on Charles Condomine and his second wife Ruth who invite a host of guests to their home to take part in a séance run by local psychic Madame Arcati so Charles can get material for his new book.
Despite being thought of a fraud, the psychic manages to bring back Elvira, Charles’ first wife, who creates havoc for her former husband.
Alan Woolaston and Sheila Hampton were sound as Dr and Mrs Bradman and Alisha James got her fair share of laughs as young and enthusiastic maid Edith.
Melanie Brown was brilliant as Charles’ frustrated wife Ruth. You felt for the stern character as she grappled to control the spiritual situation.
Janet Miller-Weir was magnificent as the mischievous Elvira. Her body language and facial expressions as she spoke to Charles, unseen by the other characters, were a joy to watch.
But the outstanding performance of the evening went to Alan Humphries as the chaos-stricken Charles. His portrayal of the eternal optimist, who at one point even tries to convince his ex-wife and current spouse to live together in harmony, saw the audience empathise with him and his situation, willing him to sort out the unusual love triangle he had found himself in.
Among the many highlights were the seance in the fist act and the consequential arrival of Elvira, the ‘love triangle’ scenes where Ruth mistakenly thought Charles was speaking to her when he was chatting to his first wife and the conversation between Ruth and Madame Alcarti as she tries to get her to rid the house of what she sees as an unwanted spirit.
The music of Noel Coward playing in between the scenes gave the right ‘nostalgic and domestic’ feel to the show and took the audience back to the time it was written and set.
Coward wrote a multitude of fantastic one-liners in the script which were all delivered perfectly and the grande finale, with Charles’ epilogue and some impressive and hilarious special effects, brought the curtain down perfectly.
The remaining performances of Blithe Spirit take place at the Norbury Theatre tonight (Friday), tomorrow (Saturday) and on Thursday, Friday and Saturday next week (October 19, 20 and 21).
Visit the box office at the theatre, go to www.norburytheatre.co.uk or call 01905 770154 for more information and tickets.