The Company Theatre kicks off the 15th season with this classic farce by Noel Coward. It takes place in the living room of successful British novelist Charles Condomine and his second wife Ruth, who have invited guests over for a séance with psychic medium Madame Arcati. All are highly skeptical of Madame Arcati's true ability to reach "beyond the grave;" however, they humor her so Charles can get material for a book he is researching. Everyone, including Madame Arcati, is completely taken by surprise when the ghost of Charles' spoiled and selfish first wife Elvira actually appears to haunt & harass and, even more troubling, refuses to return to the spirit world. Charles soon realizes the dangers of dabbling in the occult when he discovers that Elvira is hatching a diabolical plot that involves murder! What ensues is a wacky romp through this world and into the next, complete with surprising twists and disastrous results!
Reviewed by Michael E. Barrett of the San Antonio Express-News
The traveling Company Theatre is teaming with Little Italy for its latest dinner-and-a-show staging of "Blithe Spirit", a classic comedy –fantasy.
Conveniently, the whole play takes place in one living room of an English country house. It belongs to the irascible Charles Condomine (Damian Gillen) and his second wife Ruth (Heather Kelley). They
are the kind of people who sit around having cocktails and exchanging
witticisms while the work is done by their clumsy maid (Erin Polewski).
Charles is writing a novel about a phony medium who gets in touch with
the spirit world, so he invites local town kook Madame Arcati (Ida
Steele) to dinner to make notes on the tricks of the trade. Other guests are Dr. Bradman (John Eubanks) and his tippling wife (Joan Fox).
The séance seems to be something of a bust until Charles' late wife
Elvira (Lauren Kelly) shows up, though she can only be seen and heard
material is light as a feather and serves as a showcase for characters
to shout at each other and behave eccentrically, so everything rests on
the actors' ability to play these roles broadly and amusingly, which
they do. Gillen and Kelley have the straightest roles,
but they keep them properly cartoonish instead of serious; Gillen
doesn't mug exactly, but his face is always mobile.
The showiest role is Madame Arcati, who gets to dance, faint and generally feel the spirit; sometimes the role is flighty buy Steele plays her as more of a grande dame mixed with aging hippie, and it works just as well. Fox plays the doctor's wife broadly and gets laughs as she carries on.
As the pesky ghost, Kelly doesn't have much to do besides indulge in catty mischief. Still, she's attractive enough to show why Charles might prefer to spend time with his less-corporal wife. As part of the absurdity and black humor, Noel Coward takes the plot in directions that may surprise an unsuspecting audience.
ending isn't exactly the same as the classic movie version, but neither
play nor film does exactly what you'd expect, which is probably why the
material can still seem fresh.
With a polished cast, this production is safely in the realm of entertaining dinner theatre.
"Blithe Spirit" can be seen at 8pm Friday-Saturday; doors open for dinner at 6:45pm at Little Italy, 824 Afterglow. Tickets range from $30 to $40 for the dinner/show package. Call (800) 838-3006 for reservations.
ONLY THREE PERFORMANCES LEFT!
WHEN: OCT. 3rd - 18th
Fridays & Saturdays. Doors open @ 6:45, Show @ 8pm
(NOTE: SOLD OUT/Private Party on October 11)
WHERE: Little Italy is located at 824 Afterglow (@ West Ave, near Blanco Rd.)
PRICE: Only $30 for Dinner & Show combo (Tickets are $40 at the door. Seating is limited, reservations are strongly suggested!)
The Dinnerbox menu:
CASH bar available for drinks
Please tip your waitstaff.
Don't feed the actors...they might bite.
Please email your Dinnerbox menu selection immediately upon ordering your tickets: email@example.com
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