by Noel Coward

25, 26, 27 April 2013

Directed by Linda Bradley

blithe spirit flyer final

The title of the play is taken from Shelley’s poem “To a Skylark”. After his London office and flat had been destroyed in the Blitz, Coward wrote Blithe Spirit in 1941 during a holiday that he took with the actress Joyce Carey at Portmeirion on the coast of Snowdonia in Wales. In his autobiography, Coward said that he wrote the play in five days.

During World War II, before Russia and the U.S. joined forces with the Allies, Britain was suffering severe casualties and facing German bombing attacks at home. Coward felt that British audiences would want to view an escapist comedy such as Blithe Spirit. The play provoked a small outcry at the time of its first performances, as it was seen to be possibly making fun of death at the height of the war; however, such objections were quickly forgotten, and the play went on to set British box-office records. The subject was timely for many, because some who wished to contact their loved ones who had died in the war were turning to spiritualism.

 

Cast

Charles Condomine – Peter Horwood
Ruth Condomine – Alison Organ
Madame Arcati – Barbara Laird
Dr Bradman – Brian Wright
Mrs Bradman – Rosemary Gillett
Edith – Rachel Unicomb
Elvira – Ros Williams

Director – Linda Bradley
Stage Manager – Chrissie Robinson
Lighting and Sound – Nigel Cassford
Prompt – Toni Mehra
Makeup – Anya Walkden
Costumes – Jo Compton