Blithe Spirit
Noel Coward’s wonderful astral comedy

performed 18th - 21st April 2012

(Left to Right) Justine Kerry as the ghostly Elvira; Alan Carpenter as Charles Condomine;Tabi Paternoster as Ruth.

Supporting Cast

Edith : Leanne Neave
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 them.
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 of
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 play.
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!

Christine Kennett

The cast during the last show