Last night at the Gielgud Theatre was opening night of Blithe Spirit. A flurry of excitement in the audience as it saw Angela Lansbury on the West End stage for the first time in 40 years.
Blithe Spirit is a funny little tale. Charles is married to Ruth. His second wife as his first, Elvira, died 7 years previous. Inviting the doctor and his wife over for dinner they also invite along the local psychic Madame Arcati for a seance. Charles is an author and keen for some inspiration for his new book and Madame Arcati is the perfect source for some great book research.
Following Madame Arcati’s seance Charles’ first wife Elvira comes for a visit. Only heard and seen by Charles confusion and farce, of course, ensue. Charles now has to keep his current wife, Ruth, happy whilst also keeping Elvira from causing total chaos. Having previously mocked Madame Arcati they are now desperate for her help to try and get Elvira back to where she belongs. Alas, Elvira isn’t too keen to head back to the after life too quickly.
Angela Lansbury (who is 88) gives a perfect comic performance. Her energy as she pranced around the stage brought howls of laughter from the stalls. As did the role Edith, the maid to Charles and Ruth. Performed by Patsy Ferran this is her first West End stage role and she certainly brought something special to the stage. A very humorous performance.
No doubt Angela Lansbury will bring the audiences to Blithe Spirit. She really is a treat to see. But this story is so silly and funny that it is worth seeing no matter who the cast.
Reviews of Blithe Spirit: Telegraph