Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Theatre: Blithe Spirit (★★★)

By Noel Coward
Black Swan State Theatre Company
Directed by Jeffrey Jay Fowler
Set and costumes designed by Bryan Woltjen
Lighting designed by Jon Buswell
Sound designer and composer Ash Gibson Greig
With Adam Booth, Adriane Daff, Michelle Fornasier, Ella Hetherington, Michael Loney, Alison van Reeken and Jo Morris

Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre
Until 9 August

It’s hard to imagine a less opportune time to premiere a drawing room comedy about a shallow, self-absorbed chap and the dueling ghosts of his temperamental wives than the middle of 1941. 

Human nature being the resilient creature it is, though, Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit was a smash hit. It repeated its success on Broadway and on film, and remains one of those always-on-somewhere-in-the-world perennial hits.O
On opening night, by and large, the strong cast seemed uncomfortable and halting. Much of this must have been due to the late withdrawal through illness of Roz Hammond, who was to play Madame Arcati.  Her replacement, the impeccable Alison van Reeken, read from a script with skill and performed with some bravura, but the inevitable uncertainty this created was palpable.
Of course allowances must be made in such unfortunate circumstances, and it’s unwise to make hasty critical assertions under the circumstances. I’m curious to see whether, once it is bedded back in, this production has all the fluidity and élan it needs to succeed.

Read the complete review in The West Australian

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