“I may have to go into a slight trance, Mr. Condomine, but if I do, pay no attention” (Madame Arcati, Act III Scene I)
Blithe Spirit is one of Noël Coward’s most famous comedies, a joyful, brilliantly written and constructed romp around the humour of unintended consequences. Charles Condomine, a socialite and novelist, invites Madame Arcati, an eccentric medium and clairvoyant, to conduct a séance at his house. During the evening, Madame Arcati unwittingly materialises the ghost of Charles’ mischievous first wife, Elvira. Elvira can only be seen by Charles, which causes immediate problems with his very-much-alive second wife, the briskly efficient Ruth. Charmed at first by the ghostly Elvira, Charles quickly gets caught between the two. Finally convinced that the ghost is not a figment of her husband’s imagination, Ruth desperately summons Madame Arcati to undo the damage - with disastrous consequences.
Blithe Spirit was written in 1941 in only six days. Coward wrote in his diary: “very gay, superficial comedy about a ghost. Feel it may be good”. More than seven decades later Blithe Spirit remains as fresh and funny as the day it was written. It will be performed in-the-round at The Mission Theatre by a stellar Next Stage cast with Lewis Cowen as Charles, Barbara Ingledew as Ruth, Caroline Groom as Elvira and Joanna Bowman as Madame Arcati.