Classy Comedy Closes July 19!
I say! These have certainly been the veddy best of times for me and Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit—the comic story of a man haunted by the spirit of his first wife. Back in September I saw David Lean's movie version; more recently I fulfilled my longtime desire to see the musical version, High Spirits, during its short, sold-out, Musicals in Mufti run.
And just last weekend I got around to seeing and enjoying the current Broadway production of the play (which Coward wrote during a visit to, sigh, Portmeiron). Yes, Angela Lansbury does good work in the role of the eccentric Madame Arcati—I liked how her character seemed to have an arbitrary dislike of the doctor's wife, Mrs. Bradman (Deborah Rush, bringing winning energy to this supporting character). But ultimately the strength of the production is in the depth of the entire company, performers and non-performers alike. Rupert Everett does a fine job as the haunted husband; Jayne Atkinson and Christine Ebersole as the wives contrast each other but also reveal more and more facets of their characters as the play unfolds. Complementing their work is the subtle costume design of Martin Pakledinaz and some clever blocking, especially in the final scene.