A round-up of reviews for Blithe Spirit at the Apollo Theatre starring Alison Steadman.
Noel Coward’s comedy Blithe Spirit has opened at the Apollo Theatre featuring an all-star cast including Alison Steadman (Gavin & Stacey), Ruthie Henshall (Chicago), Hermione Norris (Spooks) and Robert Bathurst (Hattie), and directed by Thea Sharrock (After the Dance).
Read reviews of Blithe Spirit from the Times, Telegraph, Guardian, Independent and Daily Mail, below.
“The outstanding performance, however, comes from Hermione Norris who plays the second wife, Ruth, as a figure of lethally cold-hearted elegance. Even before the appearance of her ghostly rival, Norris radiates a waspish discontent. She also turns on the medium responsible for Elvira's appearance, Madame Arcati, with undisguised ferocity. And when asked by Arcati where Elvira is, she raises the evening's biggest laugh through her exquisite timing of the line, "My husband has driven her into Folkestone."”
Alison Steadman... seems rather laboured in comparison.”
“what I miss is the lightness of touch that marks vintage Coward productions and any sense that Elvira, however ethereal, poses a genuine sexual threat. It's a doggedly decent revival that has, you feel, seen better days.”
“Although Steadman is in danger of playing at one speed and on one level, she delivers it all with such glee that you're always glad to see her return.”
“But the leitmotif in this production is merry exaggeration. From the opening minutes when Jodie Taibi, making the most of Edith the maid, scores a solo round of applause by solving the problem of how to lower a tea-tray to a table by slowly, anxiously, doing the splits. It’s out to amuse, and succeeds all the way.”
“Hermione Norris, who plays the second Mrs Condomine, is less good at projection in the first scene but she warms up and wins a laugh when her patience snaps. And this was a preview.”
“There is good fun to be had from Alison Steadman’s splendid performance as Arcati, a bossy, dotty, jolly old soul much given to mad roars, barks and groans as she attempts to make contact with the other side.”
“But what a cold play this is, and how much it seems to hate women. Elvira is a manipulative minx, Ruth emerges as a nagging bitch, while Arcati is more or less completely off her chump.”
“Perhaps others in the first-night audience shared my disenchanted view of the play, for laughs were often in short supply, hard and skilfully though the cast worked.”