Saturday, December 27, 2014

Blithe Spirit :: Angela Lansbury :: The Ahmanson :: Los Angeles

Image from LA Weekly's review.

Couldn't resist getting tickets to Noël Coward's light-hearted 'Blithe Spirit' produced by Center Theatre Group. This production directed by Michael Blakemore stars Angela Lansbury as the medium Madame ArcatiDame Angela Lansbury! Of an old favorite, 'Murder She Wrote'. Remember that? The play also features a wonderful cast of Charles Edwards as the English writer Charles Condomine, Charlotte Parry as the current second wife Ruth Condomine, Jemima Rooper as the spirit and first wife Elvira Condomine.

Although this isn't normally a genre I'd pick for a night out at the theatre, I really wouldn't mind something light-hearted after watching two heavy plays in Seattle. I've never watched 'Blithe Spirit' except as an old film. This isn't the first staging with the same cast directed by Michael Blakemore. He's had 4.5 years to refine it since the first revival on Broadway in 2009 with Rupert Everett as Charles Condomine. A March 2014 West End staging already saw Charles Edwards as Condomine, and it meant that by now, I'm watching a rather practiced and tight cast with minor actor swops.

It was absolutely hilarious. I forgave all silly lines and whatever, considering this play was written in 1941 where there uhh...certain ideas held about women, first and second wives. Tsk. I didn't even comment how on silly it sounded for the ghost of Elvira to annoy Charles. Tsk tsk. Well, the comedic timings were good and the actors were certainly believable. While it didn't completely transport me to 1941, it's certainly a séance less scary than those Eva Green attends in 'Penny Dreadful'. It's Angela Lansbury whom I've come to see, and I really enjoyed her performance as Madame Arcati, a role she seems to have fleshed out really well. She's 89 years old. Dunno if I'll get the chance to see her on stage again. 

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