MARYSVILLE — Red Curtain Arts Center offers some ghostly, supernatural fun this weekend with the opening of its three-weekend run of “Blithe Spirit.”
English playwright Noel Coward’s classic 1940s play has been the stuff of high school and community theater productions for decades. It also has seen recent revivals on Broadway and London’s West End.
Yes, this ultra-British witty story is about 75 years old, but the humor is timeless, as is the message of “be careful what you wish for.”
What socialite and novelist Charles Condomine wishes for is some juicy material for his next book. He invites the local eccentric Madame Arcati, a medium, to his house to conduct a seance. The scheme backfires when he is haunted by the ghost of his annoying first wife, Elvira, who then makes continual attempts to disrupt Charles’s marriage to his serious second wife, Ruth, who can’t see or hear the ghost.
“Blithe Spirit” is a good selection for Halloween season. No spoilers here; suffice it to say that the play becomes even more ghostly after intermission.
Debbie Rounds is the play’s capable stage manager. Scott B Randall’s Art Deco set design is well done. The spooky stage effects are great.
Directed by Joe Goins, the cast is Robert Ian Stratton as Charles, Brianne Green as Ruth, Melanie Stagner as Elvira, Jeannine Early as Madame Arcati, David Bailey as Dr. Bradman, Danette Meline as Mrs. Bradman and Gillian Kelleher as Edith the maid.
The entire cast is “brilliant,” as the British say, but at a dress rehearsal earlier this week, I especially liked the work of Stratton, Green, Early and Kelleher. Stratton and Green have great chemistry as Charles and Ruth, and Kelleher as their maid Edith nearly steals the show.
Early as Arcati is outstanding. Her physical comedy is hilarious; her grasp of the role is spot-on. One can just picture her riding her bicycle down a country lane, her elaborate scarves and jewelry flapping in the wind.
Reporter Gale Fiege played Madame Arcati in a production of “Blithe Spirit” in the mid-1970s at Mountlake Terrace High School.
If you go
“Blithe Spirit” plays Oct. 20 through Nov. 5 at the Red Curtain Arts Center, 9315 State Ave., Suite J, Marysville (in the Goodwill shopping center, behind the EvCC cosmetology school.) Performances are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Adults $18, or $15 for students, seniors, military, and $7 for children, available online at brownpapertickets.com or by phoning 360-322-7402. More at www.facebook.com/RedCurtainFoundation.