Review: Hasland Theatre Company shines in Blithe Spirit

Blithe Spirit presented by Hasland Theatre Company
Blithe Spirit presented by Hasland Theatre Company

Fine character acting and a witty script make Hasland Theatre Company’s current show a marriage made in heaven.

Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward is the story of an author and his second wife whose partnership is rocked by the ghost of his first spouse. The spirit wreaks havoc after being conjured up in a seance.

John Belli does a first-rate job in thelead role of Charles, trying to keep the peace between his two wives - one of which only he can see, much to the annoyance of the other.

Ann Hawkwood gives a lovely performance as his second wife Ruth, becoming more shrewish as her husband’s attention is diverted.

Olivia Brooks is the beautiful spirit of first wife Elvira, ever smiling and coolly plotting her trail of mischief.

The dotty mystic Madame Arcati is a comic and colourful part and one which Rachel Schofield embraces in style as she goes into trances, convulsions and waves twigs to banish the evil spirit.

Guests at the seance are played by Michael McGwyre as Doctor Bradman and Susan Godsell as his wife.

James Bryan dishes out mirth as accident-prone maid Edith, constantly blowing the long fringe of a plaited wig away from his eyes.

The set is befitting a middle-class home with chaise-longue, grandfather clock and French windows through which the ghost of Elvia appears and disappears.

Blithe Spirit goes out with a bang in one of best final scenes in British theatre.

Directed by David Brooks, the show runs at Hasland Playhouse until March 26.