One of the world's most popular stage comedies, Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit, is coming to Bangkok as another wonderful evening of dinner theatre, staged by the Bangkok Community Theatre (BCT) at the British Club this March.
Natasha Cheung as Ruth Condomine faces off with Lucy Ellwood-Russell as Elvira, the ghostly first wife of Charles Condomine in Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit .
Blithe Spirit broke box office records with its initial four-and-a-half year run and has been continually revived, most notably in a 2009 Broadway hit that earned Angela Lansbury a Tony award.
The plot: the marvellously eccentric Madam Arcati is invited by novelist Charles Condomine to conduct a seance in his home to help him gather material for a book, and this results in her conjuring up his deceased and very sexy wife, Elvira, who clashes hilariously with his current wife who is still very much alive.
BCT's Blithe Spirit is directed by Mark Sobels who also directed George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, BCT's 2011 dinner theatre offering at the British Club, and is produced by BCT veterans Bonnie Zellerbach and Anna Khendry.
The production boasts an excellent cast including Zellerbach as Madam Arcati, Gary Norman as Charles, talented BCT newcomers Lucy Ellwood-Russell and Natasha Cheung as the wives, Jenny Alexander as the maid, and familiar BCT performers Paul Robere and Louise Truslow as the neighbours who witness magic.
Gary Norman (middle) as Charles Condomine and his wives, living and dead.
According to Sobels, Blithe Spirit is ostensibly set in an English country home in 1941, but actually it's set in its own world like many Coward works.
"It isn't reality; at a time when there was fabric and food rationing, our characters wear a procession of beautiful new clothes and there is no talk of the war... at all," said Sobels. "Coward wrote that Blithe Spirit must hover somewhere above reality so I've tried to achieve that. It was written to make people happy at a time when people were thinking about the afterlife a lot, and still makes us happy, indeed makes us laugh, today.
"Blithe Spirit is at once a fidelity play, will he or won't he, a fantasy brimming with magic and ghosts, and a thoroughly entertaining light-hearted treatise on romantic love and marriage, both still very much subjects of contemporary interest.
"The set and costume designs are handsome and in keeping with the late Art Deco period _ well-cut dinner suits, cocktails, hats, elegance, precision and colour. And we are fortunate to have magician and BCT actor James Laver [last seen as the lead romantic interest in BCT's The Country Wife] on board as the lead designer of magical effects.
"Blithe Spirit is a very modern play in its language and concerns. Extremely witty, it is written with a laugh, or more, a minute. The playwright Noel Coward said in his later years that he was never considered 'a significant playwright' and that he had never tried to be, his aim always being to amuse and entertain. In this he succeeded spectacularly over a 50-year period, becoming one of the most commercially successful playwrights of the 20th century. And Blithe Spirit remains his longest-running and most popular success."
This fun-filled classic plays for six performances over two weekends at the British Club. If you love comedy or just want a really great night out, you'll want to make sure you don't miss Blithe Spirit.
Blithe Spirit will be performed at the British Club, Silom Soi 18. Six dinner theatre performances over two weekends on March 14, 15, 16, 21, 22 and 23 at 7.30pm. Tables are for 10 people (if there are fewer than 10 in a party, tables may be shared). Tickets, priced at 1,200 baht including a three-course dinner, are available now through BCT (tel 087-529-3188 or email@example.com) and through the British Club. For more information, contact BCT or visit www.bct-th.org.
About the author
Writer: Stephen Courtice