Mayhem and a medium

Review: Comedy Blithe Spirit runs until March 22 at Ladysmith Little Theatre

An eccentric medium and a misbehaving ghost are just two of the quirky characters we meet in Ladysmith Little Theatre’s latest production, Blithe Spirit.

This hilarious play written by Noel Coward centers around novelist Charles Condomine, who invites a medium and clairvoyant named Madam Arcati to his house to conduct a séance, hoping to learn the lingo and gather material for his next book.

He gets much more than he bargained for, though, when Madam Arcati summons his late wife, Elvira. Charles is the only one who can see and hear Elvira, which causes many problems with his second wife, Ruth, who gets more and more upset as she thinks that every time Charles is getting angry at Elvira, he’s directing his remarks to her. Elvira is a mischievous spirit, and she continually attempts to disrupt Charles’s new marriage, infuriating Ruth and driving Charles crazy.

As Charles falls apart under the stress of living with two wives, Madam Arcati is summoned to exorcise Elvira, but she doesn’t know how to get rid of her. Ruth becomes increasingly upset, and she starts to suspect that Elvira is trying to kill Charles so that he can go to the other side with her and they can be together again.

It all comes to a head in the third act, as things go from bad to worse for Charles, and his home is filled with ghostly chaos. The ending was one of my favourite endings and was very well done.

This fabulous play was a joint effort by producers Mort Paul and Stephen Lewis, and it’s so well done that it’s obvious the cast and crew all work very well together.

Pat Zogar is delightful as Madam Arcati, a hilarious, over-the-top eccentric. She really plays her to a tee, and her colourful and elaborate costumes fit her character just perfectly. Her scenes were all highlights of the play for me, and she elicited many laughs from the crowd.

As impish Elvira,  Pamela Walker drives a wedge between Charles and Ruth, and she is great in all her scenes.

Kyra Moore plays Edith the maid, and she does a marvelous job. She had the room laughing out loud many times, and her delivery was excellent.

Greg Heide gets better and better as the play goes on and Charles becomes unraveled. His performance is especially impressive when you consider that he is on stage for most of the play.

As a sensible and then increasingly angry wife, Lynnia Clark does a great job as Ruth.

Bill Young and Mary Lou Reside are great as well as Charles and Ruth’s friends, the Bradmans who are skeptical of Madam Arcati’s powers and provide a lot of humour.

The writing is great in this play, and the dialogue is excellent. An abnormal love triangle, miscommunication, confused conversations, strong characters, excellent acting and perfectly-suited costumes and set design make for a very enjoyable night at the theatre.

This play is a bit longer than others, with three acts and two 10-minute intermissions, but it’s a great story, and the ending is definitely worth the wait.

Blithe Spirit continues its run until March 22.

Tickets are $20 or $18 for Ladysmith Little Theatre members or groups of 10 or more and are available online at www.ladysmiththeatre.com or by calling the box office at 250-924-0658.