By EMMA YOUNG (sourced from http://comment.inmycommunity.com.au/going-out/theatre-and-the-arts/IBlitheI-gets-into-the-spirit/7631355/ and http://www.communitydigital.com.au/OLIVE/ODE/COMMENTNEWSARMADALE/Default.aspx?href=CA%2F2012%2F09%2F11&pageno=35&view=document)
HAVING long loved Noel Coward’s wickedly funny Blithe Spirit, I approached Roleystone Theatre on Friday night with anticipation but also some apprehension.
This was my first visit to the community theatre and I feared disappointment – unnecessarily, it seems.
The story of a seance set up “in a spirit of mockery” turned serious when Charles Condomine’s (David Gardette’s) first wife, Elvira (Julia Dalby), reappears from the afterlife visible only to him, unfolded with energy and humour.
Charles’ “seedy grandeur”, and Elvira’s sulky petulance, are both maddening and hilarious.
Elvira’s costume and makeup are worth a mention, being ghostly in the extreme.
Charles’ second wife Ruth (Jenny McCann), has arguably the most dialogue to carry off and certainly the widest emotional range to portray.
She sees her husband apparently go mad, interacting with someone unseen and unheard, but must then admit to mounting evidence of Elvira’s existence.
Her performance, notwithstanding a scratchy throat, humanises the story. She rescues the odd trio from being thoroughly dislikeable, with all their basest instincts on display.
The squeaky, speedy maid Edith (Laura Djanegara), a minor but crucial character, provided some of the biggest laughs for an already appreciative audience on Friday night. But Kerri Hilton as Madame Arcati, the medium who summons Elvira without the faintest idea of how to “send her back”, stole the show, vigorously boggling, frightening and telling off those silly enough to underestimate her.
As well as plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, there are many spooky moments in this production, which has well-timed special effects both comic and unnerving.
Do not hesitate over Roleystone Theatre’s Blithe Spirit. If you have not been to the venue before, you will be charmed.
Whether or not you know the story, you will be hard-pressed to find fault with this animated production.
Blithe Spirit plays at Roleystone Theatre tomorrow and September 14 and 15 at 8pm, with a 2pm matinee on September 15.
Tickets through 9397 5730 or at www.|roleystonetheatre.com.au.
A play rehearsal is interrupted by the arrival of a divided family who have been abandoned by their creator and are seeking an author, ‘any author’, to give them a ‘definitive artistic form’ so their stories may be staged. While the first performance of Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author to a Rome audience in May 1921 was almost booed off the stage it has gone on to have many successful seasons and is still a major part of the theatrical repertoire. The play, in part, is Pirandello’s attack on the Italian theatre of the time, with its actor-managers and star-systems, its stock characterisations, and its standard repertoire of romantic melodramas. However, it is a play on many levels. It raises questions about the nature of reality, of what constitutes identity, and how we can gauge what is truth. On another level it is a hysterical romantic melodrama about a warring family who live out their emotions on the skin. And, it is also a deeply tragic revenge narrative – a tale of betrayal, adultery, suicide and death. Students enrolled in theatre studies at UWA present this very physical, at times comedic, and often provocatively philosophical play, virtually uncut and unlike many productions we choose not to attempt to modernise it into the contemporary world of electronic media.