Network Theatre production poster

Last night, I went along to the dinky Network Theatre, which is under the railway lines at Waterloo.

Blithe Spirit is my second favourite play, after The Importance Of Being Earnest – so I am feeling rather smug that I have now managed to see both in the space of two months!

I had never been to the Network Theatre before, but was quite impressed – I calculated that it seats about 42 people, but the stage is quite large, and deep, and when we walked in, I took a pic, as I really liked the set.

For those who don’t know, Blithe Spirit is a Noel Coward play – very witty and proper – about Charles & Ruth Condomine who are hosting a seance with the local oddball medium (Madame Arcati) even though they are cynics as Charles is a writer and is using this opportunity to research a charlatan psychic character.

Ruth is actually his second wife, as his first wife (the beautiful young Elvira) died from pneumonia 7 years beforehand.

As you can guess, the seance takes an unusual turn, and brings back the ghost of Elvira, who only Charles can see & hear.

I love this play, and I love the 1945 film which stars Rex Harrison as Charles and the wonderful Margaret Rutherford as the mad Madame Arcati (who also plays Miss Prism in the 1952 film of Earnest that I love too!).

The understated set

I really enjoyed last night’s production – but you can’t really go wrong with such a strong script, unless you’re AWFUL.  I think the weakest out of the cast was the girl who played Ruth – missed a couple of classic comic timings and seemed rather too ‘aware’ of the audience at certain points, but really, that’s just nit-picking, because it was all really good.

Charles & Elvira were fabulous and Madame Arcati (although no Margaret Rutherford) was reassuringly weird and jolly-hockey-sticks!

Not bad for their opening night.  I’ll definitely see another production there 🙂

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