Blithe Spirit (2014)

Blithe Spirit

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Written by:  Noel Coward

Directed by:  Doug Pusateri

Blithe Spirit” is a comedy.  Charles and Ruth live in a “palatial” cabin in Munds Park. Charles, doing research for his new book, decides to invite a Medium from Sedona to the house for a séance. The Medium accidentally calls back Charles’ first wife, Elvira, whose spirit moves into the cabin in Pinewood. Charles’ current wife, Ruth, can’t see or hear Elvira but Charles keeps talking to her and all the while Ruth thinks he’s talking to her. Mayhem breaks out when Elvira attempts to murder Charles so she can be with him forever but accidentally kills someone else. Laughter abounds as Charles tries to get rid of Elvira. Does he succeed? What else might happen? You won’t see this one coming…..

Review By Clyde Morrison

Blithe Spirit is a play by Noel Coward.  It is about a man who has lost his first  wife through a fatal car accident.  He marries a second wife years later.  Problems start when he brings a psychic to his home in order to find out what types of fakery they use.  He intends to put this into a book he is writing about psychics.  Interestingly, the psychic is able to bring back the ghost of his first wife.  Much of the humor comes when no one can see or hear the first wife and his current wife assumes he is either drunk or insane. I am sorry that this review is coming out too late for many of you to see the most professional performance we have seen on the Munds Park stage.  Blithe Spirit is a pleasant drawing room type of play.  What was seen on the Munds Park stage was a brilliant, fantastic job of direction and acting to make the play a hilarious and wonderful evening.  If you did get a chance to see this play, you got a chance to see what a director like Doug Pusateri can do with the raw material.  Wow!  As one of the audience told me  – “That was BOFFO!” Much of the comedy in Blithe was carried out by two new actresses to our stage: Kathy Abramowitz as the maid, Edith; and Lori Prescott as Madame Ascati, the psychic.  When either of these two came on the stage, their character just took over the stage.  Either they are naturally that inventive and comic, or the director had a lot to do helping them with their stage debuts. Kathy’s maid was either awkwardly running or very slowly running or curtsying in a unique style that I have never seen before.   Kathy had worked behind the stage for several plays but this was a first in front of the curtains.  Lori came to the main stage from a part in reader’s theater.   She had boundless energy and hilarious reactions to situations.  She made it seems real, but yet we knew that she was a fake.   What a complete and enjoyable performance from both of these fine actresses. The rest of the cast was also right on.  I loved the facial expressions of Nancy Del Duca as Charles’ second wife Ruth.  She loved her husband and tried to understand him in an impossible situation.  His dead wife, as a ghost,appeared and talked only to him.  No one else could see or hear her.  So, when he said “Shut up” to the ghost or insulted the ghost, Ruth assumed he was talking to her.  Del Duca’s facial expressions , in fact her whole body expressions, let us know what a terrible time she was having.

Les Maruseth as the husband Charles and Susan Liberty as the ghostly first wife Elvira, also played their parts to the hilt.  Neither of these two actors had been in major roles in Munds Park before, but they acted like professional performers and were both outstanding.  Where did they become such seasoned performers?  Les had a huge part, as he was in every scene, and that is a lot of memorizing and emoting.  I’m guessing, again, that the director Doug  Pusater had a lot to do with developing and working with all the actors. As usual, the stage construction, props, backstage work was what we have come to expect in Munds Park – PERFECTION.  Kudos to everyone who worked on this performance.

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