Noel Coward’s wonderful astral comedy
performed 18th - 21st April
(Left to Right) Justine
Kerry as the ghostly Elvira; Alan Carpenter as Charles Condomine;Tabi
Paternoster as Ruth.
Doctor Bradman : Martin Drummond
Mrs Bradman : Marianne London
Madame Arcati : Georgette Vale
Voice of Daphne : Stella Vorih Elffers
Written in the dark wartime
days of 1941 to raise the ‘spirits’ of the British people,
Coward described this play as “an improbable farce”.
It was an instant hit then, playing almost 2000 consecutive performances
and has continued to delight audiences ever since.
The title comes from Percy Shelley’s poem ‘Ode to a Skylark’
– “Hail to the blithe spirit, bird thou never wert ..”.
Coward’s wonderful, witty, sharp dialogue is still as relevant
as ever, and many in today’s audiences will doubtless feel that
his take on love
and marriage, death and the afterlife could have been written for
The play presents a huge challenge for cast and crew alike, and we
hope that you will enjoy our interpretation of this timeless classic.
So let us
take you back to a late summer in 1938, to the living room of the
Condomine’s country house in Kent, and the unmistakable sound
Victor Sylvester …..
David Paternoster - Director
Review of Wymondham Players’ “Blithe Spirit”
I have written reviews of Wymondham Players
productions before, but only from a seat in the audience on one of
the regular evenings. For this latest one, “Blithe Spirit”
by Noel Coward, I was privileged to be awarded what the B.B.C. describes
in referring to cover of their documentaries as “unprecedented
access” to a dress rehearsal on the previous Sunday afternoon.
This was very interesting as it gave me an opportunity of seeing through
to the “bones” of the production, and also of realising
what an enormous amount of hard work had gone into putting on this
This was obvious from the wonderfully old-fashioned opening announcement
and the very first rise of the curtain to reveal a period sitting-room
meticulous in retro detail – furnished in elegant and glowingly
polished antique furniture – all real! The set was a pleasure
to look at.
As well as the set, I will mention here the lighting, sound effects
and special effects, which were all ambitious and successful –
I will not elaborate in case I give away surprises!
As for the cast, Alan Carpenter as Charles carried the main male character
with a suave consistency that held the thread of the plot together
perfectly, and Tabi Paternoster, as Ruth, his wife, suited well the
period dresses and was very smooth and polished, but every so often
coming over as a real person when the occasion caused her to resort
to a steely acerbic wit.
Leanne Neave as the maid, was good at skittering about and being comic
- very clever. Did we, if we didn’t know the play already, suspect
the real reason why she was written into the plot?
Georgette Vale as Madame Arcati, had a whale of a time – flinging
gaudy draperies about, having one of her turns, eating cucumber sandwiches
and then throwing them at the audience – a gift of a part, but
difficult to do after Margaret Rutherford’s definitive performance
in the film. However, Georgette brought the humour out at every opportunity,
and also managed to add her own personality to enrich the role.
The first wife, Elvira, played by Justine Kerry appears (well, we
all know she does) later in the play, absolutely stunning in her grey
glittery make-up, and so elegantly right with her eloquent hand gestures
and use of her legs to give added depth to the part.
The only other two characters, Doctor Bradman and his wife, played
by Martin Drummond and Marianne London were perfectly played as they
were meant to be – helping the action and giving it impetus.
The play was directed by David Paternoster and produced by Heather
Carpenter, and was flawless, seamless and faultless. I don’t
see how it could have been done any better. Once more, I was amazed
at the high standard of this W.P. production, and once again I say
how lucky Wymondham is to have such a talented and entertaining company
of players. On a purely basic note, I would say that the play I saw
on Sunday afternoon was as good as anything you’d see in the
West End, and there it would cost you at least six times what you’d
pay at the Central Hall in Wymondham. So that is very good value –
and good entertainment!
cast during the last show