Venue : Woodrush High School
Date : February 1971
Genre : Comedy
Blithe Spirit – dated but entertaining
The years between the first performance of “Blithe Spirit” and last weeks presentation by Wythall Dramatic Society have seen many changes in dialogue style, and the “wordiness” of Noel Coward’s lines was very apparent to ears now accustomed to the snappy dialogue of televisions plays.
No doubt because of the complicated and often tongue-twisting dialogue, the first scene seemed slow, but the play began to take shape when the mood for the first séance was set by the nostalgic strains of “Always,” and you could feel the audience settle back in anticipation.
Estelle Shutkever’s wacky medium, Madame Arcarti, without doubt dominated the whole play, and the audience rose to her the moment she burst upon the scene, hanging on her every word – all of which she used to the full, and applauding enthusiastically at each exit. Her ‘arty’ appearance suited the character admirably, and her timing was excellent.
Although he regained his usual aplomb as the play went on, Gerry Solomon seemed slightly ill at ease at first in his demanding role as the sophisticated author Charles Condomime. Conodmime unwittingly calls up the spirit of his departed wife Elvira, to the annoyance of his second wife, Ruth, played with a smooth assurance by Brenda Castle, who snapped out her cynical lines with precision.
As the somewhat roguish spirit, Elvira, Val Evans was delightfully ethereal. Her make-up was very effective as was Ruth’s after her despatch to the spirit world as a result of Elvira’s attempts to arrange for Charles to join her on the other side.
Bob Aldridge brought a note of calm and dependability to the proceedings as the family doctor, while as Mrs. Bradman, his wife, Sybil Parr’s interpretation extracted laughs from non-descript lines.
Edith the dim witted maid with psychic tendencies was beautifully played by Val Archer, whose timing and facial expressions made the most of the part.
The spooky effects were well carried out, for which Frank Winter must take credit. Costumes, in the charge of Jean Winter, were, as one has grown to expect with this Society, very good.
Ted Pedvin’s production ran smoothly, giving his audience a good evenings entertainment.
V.L., Local Newspaper