Blithe Spirit (West End) Review

 Cast

Edith – Patsy Ferran

Ruth – Janie Dee

Charles – Charles Edwards

Dr Bradman – Simon Jones

Mrs Bradman – Serena Evans

Madame Arcati – Angela Lansbury

Elvira – Jemima Rooper

Blithe Spirit is a comic play by Noël Coward, which has been running at the Gielgud Theatre in London since 1st March and finishes on Saturday 7th June 2014. For a limited time only with the one and only Dame Angela Lansbury back in the West End after a 40 year absence and reviving her Tony Award winning role. I managed to get down to London to see the play yesterday afternoon and I am so pleased that I did. Not only to see Lansbury but the play was delightful and funny from start to finish. I do believe the first projected image onto the curtain mentions an improbable farce, I think that sums it up nicely.

Charles and Ruth seem everything the married couple, a slight argument about Charles’ first deceased wife Elvira sets things in motion when Madame Arcati is welcomed into the home along with family friends to see if they can contact anyone from another place. Any evening which is hilarious for quite a few reason. The first glimpse we get of Ms Lansbury on stage which was welcomed with a very warm happy applause, and how utterly wacky Madame Arcati is. The trance scene is something which will live in my memory for a long time, with Lansbury moving and dancing around the stage in hilarious fashion.

The play is very charming and has so many hidden little jokes, it really does come across as very very British. Not saying this is a bad thing at all, but honestly it is still so relatable in this day and age. I had not seen the play before or the film, and therefore did not know a whole lot about the story. It doesn’t take long to pick it up and moves at a very good pace to follow. Different scenes are split up by the curtain coming down and explaining what the next scene is going to be about. This gives the audience a chance to catch their breath as it really does move at pace.

Charles Edwards was truly mesmerising as Charles, so charming and you see the character change as he now both of his wives trying to get his attention. These scenes are so clever and must be very difficult to act out with Ruth not being able to see or hear Elvira. His disappear as he looks to be going totally mad, and when Ruth figures out Elvira’s intentions to kill Charles. Trying to talk to her and having no idea where she was on the stage, visually brilliant. Janie Dee puts everything into the role and you cannot help but side with her at times over Charles. Jemima Rooper is absolutely crazy as Elvira and has so much energy when she is running around the stage.

Angela Lansbury does steal the scenes she is in and truly brilliant to watch, I felt in ore of the great actress as she looks so comfortable and at home on the stage at the age of 88. Everyone should inspire to have that much energy as they get older. You can just tell she loves acting and especially this role. She has an amazing presence and you I am very honoured to now be able to say I have seen this legend performing.

Must also mention performance wise Patsy Ferran who has made her stage debut in this play as Edith the maid and truly hilarious each short appearance she makes. Not getting it right when it comes to working around the house, getting too close to her employers, moving too quickly or too slowly. Absolutely brilliant and gets plenty of laughs from the audience.

I am pleased I decided to make the journey down to see this as it truly is a fantastic time to spend at the theatre. The performances are top quality and really keep you engaged throughout the show which really does fly by. It was well worth the train journey too and from Newcastle to London and I would happily do it all over again. With only a week of this show remaining, I urge you if you can to head and see it. A truly special experience to witness Dame Angela Lansbury on a West End stage, something I will never ever forget.

2 thoughts on “Blithe Spirit (West End) Review

  1. […] May was a month with two shows. The first was a brand new show about the life of T Rex leading man Marc Bolan, a band I have always been a big fan of so 20th Century Boy at the Sunderland Empire was a massive highlight this year. I really hope it gets a transfer to the West End as it was a brilliant show with so many of my favourite songs, it had hardcore T Rex fans following the show around on it’s tour. You can read the full review here. The second show I caught this month was a play in the West End, Blithe Spirt at the Gielgud Theatre. The special thing about this was that I really wanted to see Dame Angela Lansbury so much that I done the trip for the Wednesday afternoon matinée in one day. An early train in the morning and then train back. It cost a lot of money but was totally worth it, especially when I got to see Dame Angela heading into the theatre before the performance. It was such a thrill and an honour to see her on the stage, the applause as she first appeared was amazing and the standing ovation at the end was unreal. It meant to much to see her, honestly I still cannot quite believe it. You can read the full review here. […]

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