By Richard Burnett, from Hour (with permission)
Noel Coward’s 1941 play Blithe Spirit – written to lift the morale of Londoners during The Blitz – is the archetypal British sophisticates comedy that’s been pleasing audiences for decades. Its 2009 run at NYC’s Schubert Theatre (starring a dashing Rupert Everett and Angela Lansbury, who won a 2009 Tony Award for her performance) was widely considered a definitive remounting (and this reporter enjoyed it very much). So could Montreal’s Segal Theatre – with decidedly less cash and star-power – be up to the task? Well, I’m happy to report, they are. The Segal set is really beautiful, worthy of a Broadway stage, and the cast – especially Kelli Fox as Ruth Condomine and Gemme James Smith as the ghostly Elvira – are excellent in a sparkling, booze-soaked comedy about life and the afterlife – and, of course, murder. This production would make Noel Coward himself proud.
Blithe Spirit plays at the Segal Theatre until Dec 12. Surf to www.segalcentre.org