Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward.

The latest production at The Tower Theatre of Blithe Spirit is a well-known classic by Noel Coward. The work that has gone into this play is an absolute credit to this original script. From a fantastic cast of six to the authentic stage dressing and some incredibly well-designed costumes.

This was my first visit to the Tower Theatre and it will not be my last. It boasts some very comfortable cinema seating in the auditorium which is unusual for an off west end theatre due to budget restrictions. The upstairs theatre is fully air-conditioned and the high ceiling is worth checking out.

Blithe Spirit has a very easy plotline to follow as it combines love, jealousy, lust, death and the curiosity which surrounds the afterlife and all things that go bump in the night.

After a seance conducted by Madame Arcati (Alison Liney) in the home of Charles (David Hankinson) and Ruth (Anna Fiorentini), it appeared that nothing happened during the seance and all went off without anything or anyone being summoned from beyond the grave. That was until the dinner guests Dr and Mrs Bradman (Alistair Maydon and Louisa Shindle) had left the house.

Charles’s late wife Elvira enters the stage. Her wraith-like presence as Elvira played by Sophie King was absolutely amazing the stunning outfit that she had been dressed in and the wonderful way that she came onto the stage was completely beguiling. Costume designer Lynda Twidale’s vision for Elvira’s look is superb. Complete with the white wig which reflects on the stage lighting giving off an ethereal glow to her character.

Much of the humour throughout the production was delivered by Edith (Myriam Laurent) the maid. Her tendency to do everything in a great rush was a constant annoyance to her employees and the only way she is able to slow down was to make over-exaggerated walking slow-motion style movements and matching body actions. The look of bewilderment on her face was perfectly timed and extremely funny.

Madame Arcati as the eccentric medium is exactly how I would visualise someone in her role during that period. Who thinks nothing of cycling home seven miles away at 11 pm at night.

Jude Chalk’s stage design is based in the couples sitting room. It was decorated throughout in an art deco style, with lots of green used in keeping with that period. There is a prominent framed photograph of Elvira watching over everyone positioned on the wall.

Director Dan Usztan has bought together a very talented cast, creative team and production team to create a really good version of this classic Noel Coward play Blithe Spirit.

Four Stars.

For more information on past and present productions click on the link below.