Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Blithe Spirit (The SOB Review)

Blithe Spirit (The SOB Review) - Shubert Theatre, New York, New York

*** (out of ****)

Talk about truth in advertising. With a virtuoso performance by one of the greatest stage actors of our time, Noël Coward's Blithe Spirit certainly lives up to its name.

Any chance to see Angela Lansbury tread the boards is more than worth the effort. But as Madame Arcati, the legend effortlessly demonstrates the merry agility and grace of someone half her age. Lansbury packs more acting into her seemingly simple expressions and nimble, free-spirited movements than many actors exhibit in a lifetime.

Fortunately, Lansbury shares the stage of Blithe Spirit with a top drawer cast, including Rupert Everett (in his dashing Broadway debut as novelist Charles), Jayne Atkinson (hilarious as his second wife Ruth) and Christine Ebersole (luminous as Charles' deceased wife Elvira, who's not only been summoned from the dead by Madame Arcati during a seance, but she refuses to leave).

Initially, Coward's comedy made its West End debut a mere two months after the infamous Nazi Blitz on the United Kingdom had ended. Britain had suffered through nine devastating months of bombings that killed more than 43,000, half of them in London. No wonder audiences at the time were so eager to embrace such a mirthful show, even one that used the dead to liven spirits.

Fast forward 68 years to the current production. Michael Blakemore's steady direction has polished the "improbable farce" up nice and shiny. And with its sterling cast, the resurrected Blithe Spirit sparkles anew for today's audiences needing a perfect escape.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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At 26 May, 2009, Blogger Sarah B. Roberts said...

Amen, SOB.

At 27 May, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 27 May, 2009, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Dear Readers,

I have removed one individual's rant about an NBC television show that is apropos of nothing here.

So, in accordance with rule #2 above, the comments have been removed. I would suggest to that Anonymous poster that he or she may want to start a blog of his/her own or visit a blog devoted to television shows.

Steve On Broadway (SOB)


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