In 2013, Richard Eyre directed the great Lesley Manville in a harrowing production of Ibsen's Ghosts at the Almeida that subsequently transferred to the West End's Trafalgar Studios. The ghosts in that play are metaphorical, summonsing the parental legacies of a dead father on his son.Now, Eyre tussles again with the spirits of the dead in Noel Coward's 1941 comedy Blithe Spirit, but this time they take physical form when the late wife, and subsequently (mild spoiler alert) the current wife of a...
Blithe Spirit Tickets
Blithe Spirit Information
Blithe Spirit is centered on novelist Charles Condomine, who is attempting to conduct research into the occult and clairvoyance for his next novel. The show was first seen on the West End in 1941, running for nearly 2,000 performances.
The Blithe Spirit play sees Charles invite a group of eccentric individuals for dinner. Part of the esteemed crowd is Madame Arcati, who conjures up spirits from the dead. But nobody’s expecting Arcati to resurrect the spirit of Charles’ ex-wife. Chaos ensues around the table in this hit British comedy, considered to be one of Noël Coward’s finest.
Blithe Spirit is a popular choice of play in London. In 2014, Angela Lansbury played the role of Madame Arcati, alongside Jemima Rooper, Janie Dee, and Charles Edwards in the cast. Blithe Spirit even toured the UK in 2011, starring Alison Steadman. This Blithe Spirit London production first began at Theatre Royal Bath. This production brings Blithe Spirit back to the West End after its run at the Duke of York’s Theatre was interrupted due to the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020.
Blithe Spirit isn’t just a stage play, though. It’s also been adapted for film, television, and radio. The first Blithe Spirit film was released in 1945, and it was adapted by Noël Coward himself. The 2020 Blithe Spirit film stars Dan Stevens, Isla Fisher, and Judi Dench. There’s even a musical — the 1964 musical High Spirits is inspired by Blithe Spirit.
The Blithe Spirit creative team includes direction by Richard Eyre, who has previously directed Mary Poppins and Ghosts. Scenic design is by Anthony Ward, with lighting design by Howard Harrison and sound design by John Leonard, and illusions by Paul Kieve. The London Theatre review of Blithe Spirit in London in 2020 reads, “Eyre's production - and the wives themselves - achieve liftoff, literally so, in the second half when Anthony Ward's set and Paul Kieve's illusions provide a memorable comic finale.”
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Cast and creative
By: Noel Coward
Director: Richard Eyre
Cast list: Jennifer Saunders, Geoffrey Streatfeild, Lisa Dillon, Emma Naomi, Simon Coates, Lucy Robinson and Rose Wardlaw
Design: Anthony Ward
Lighting: Howard Harrison
Sound: John Leonard
Other info: Illusions by Paul Kieve
Latest Blithe Spirit News & Features
Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit will resume performances in the West End, now moved to a new home for autumn performances. Jennifer Saunders will reprise the role of Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit, playing at the Harold Pinter Theatre from 16 September - 6 November.This production of Blithe Spirit first opened at Theatre Royal Bath in June 2019, later transferring to the Duke of York's Theatre in March 2020. Two weeks into its run, performances were cancelled due to the pandemic.Directed by Richard...
Jennifer Saunders is set to star in a revival of Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit in the West End next spring, it has been announced.Directed by Richard Eyre, Saunders will play clairvoyant Madame Arcati who stages a séance at a writer's home with the aim of gathering material for a new novel, only to call the spirit of his first wife instead. The role has been played by any great actors, including Alison Steadman, Angela Lansbury and Penelope Keith.The production, which premiered at Theatre Royal...