Review of Blythe Spirit at Tolethorpe Hall by Stamford Shakespeare Company
“It was fascinating from start to finish,” declared spiritualist Madame Acarti as she danced off stage during Tolethorpe Hall’s production of Blithe Spirit.
And you know what? She wasn’t wrong. For the entirety of Noel Coward’s show I was transfixed, watching the story unfold.
For those not in the know, the action takes place in the Kent home of Charles Condomine, an author who organises a seance to gain background information for his novel.
But the evening descends into chaos when spiritualist Madame Acarti manages to summon the ghost of Charles’ late first wife Elvira, a very mischievous spirit - much to the dismay of his second wife, Ruth.
The ghostly figure of Elvira graces the cover of the programme and she, played by Natasha Rose, and Charles’ first wife Ruth (Lauren Lovett) are no doubt impressive.
Madame Acarti was played by Angela Harris, a regular at Stamford Shakespeare Company and someone who never fails to impress me. This time was no different and her comic timing is nothing less than perfect.
But for me, it was Charles himself, played by theatre manager David Fensom, who really stole the show.
Full disclosure here - as marketing and promotions manager, David invited me to watch the show and as someone who is always enchanted by the magic of Tolethorpe, I was only too pleased to accept despite not knowing the story beforehand.
Torn between two wives with completely different spirits - quite literally - David’s comic timing matched Angela’s and his delight at being on stage was clear for all to see.
As Elvira declared to Charles that he was a “monumental bore”, I couldn’t help but think he was anything but. He certainly sparkled even brighter than Elvira’s dress and her ghostly grey skin.
This week is completely sold out but Blithe Spirit returns to Tolethorpe from August 26 to 31 for the final week of Stamford Shakespeare Company’s 2019 season and you must not miss it. The magic of this show really does equal the magic of the surroundings of Tolethorpe.
More by this authorKerry Coupe