Impressions: Coward’s Blithe Spirit

For those not familar with the piece, Blithe Spirit is Nöel Coward’s comedic tale of Charles Condomine, a writer, who is reaquainted with his deceased first wife Elvira after dabbling in the occult skills of the eccentric Madam Arcati.  Charles’s misjudged attempt to research mediumship for his next novel results in the return of a very mischievous Elvira who has taken a great dislike to Ruth, his second wife.

I ventured out on a rather cold, snowy night to this production at the Royal Exchange Manchester but what a treat was in store.  The biggest success for me was the wonderfully lovable and warm, yet batty, Arcati played by Annette Badland.  Annette handles the comedy superbly and confidently with great physicality.  However, the surprise lay with Suranne Jones’s Ruth, played with great conviction and subtle humour.

This is a really inspiring and compelling production that uses the wonderfully unique theatre space at the Exchange impressively and with real understanding.  A fantastic piece of theatre, sure to be a favourite of mine!

Blithe Spirit plays at the Royal Exchange Manchester until 26 January 2010.

theatreJunki © 2010

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