Theatre Roundup: Week 1
Our anonymous reviewer finds LTC’s ‘Blithe Spirit’ a mixed bag…
Blithe Spirit – Lion Theatre Company
Imagine your ex coming back from a 7 year holiday in Peru to find you with a new girlfriend. Now imagine your ex was actually deceased for those 7 years. That’s essentially what we’ve got with Blithe Spirit.
The characters were on the whole entertaining, with particular highlights being Aisha Bennett’s prissy ‘Ruth’ and Olivia Race’s expressive ‘Madame Arcati’. However, whilst the characters were mostly well formed for this ‘improbable farce’, I felt the chemistry between them needed to be more plainly shown, perhaps through simply being closer to each other in moments of passionate dialogue.
There were also issues with cues and pace here, and I’d suggest that the actors try and pick up cues in general more swiftly, but not too early, as happened on occasion. That said, Race in particular drove the piece through the third act (after a second interval, which should have been announced beforehand!), and there were beautiful skirmishes between Bennet and Matt Todd, who played the ill-fated protagonist ‘Charles’ with appropriate despair.
However, these moments were a little undermined by technical faults, both with lighting and sound, which needed tightening up. In particular, the scene changes sometimes detracted from any pace that had been built. Furthermore, the blocking and physicality was sometimes not in keeping with the vocal range of the characters, with the notable exception being Kate Barton’s amusing ‘Edith’.
Overall, there is potential in Blithe Spirit and the cast should be proud of what they have achieved but, as I have to review the performance I saw, I felt there were certain flaws which needed to be ironed out to fully realise the quality of the piece of which the cast are capable.