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. Read more
Jennifer Saunders is set to star in Noel Coward's comedy Blithe Spirit as director Richard Eyre's production of the play transfers to the West End's Duke of York's Theatre in London for a limited run from March 2020.
Saunders will play clairvoyant Madame Arcati who is hired by writer Charles Condomine to help gather material for his latest novel, but instead, fathoms the spirit of his first wife. The role has been played by many respected actors, including Angela Lansbury and Alison Steadman.
Blithe Spirit will run in London at the Duke of York's Theatre from 5th March to 11th April 2020, with an official opening night on 10th March.
The production premiered at Theatre Royal Bath, to positive reviews including The Stage's Jeremy Brien labelling Saunders' performance "tailor-made for the role of the dotty, but deadly serious, medium", while The Guardian's Clare Brennan adds, '[Saunders'] comic interplay of tensions between real and imaginary is touchingly personified in Jennifer Saunders’s Madame Arcati'.
The cast of the play is completed by Geoffrey Streatfeild as Charles, Lisa Dillon as Ruth Condomine, Emma Naomi as Elvira, Simon Coates as Dr Bradman, Lucy Robinson as Mrs Bradman, and Rose Wardlaw as Edith.
Duke of York's Theatre Venue Information
Our Review of Blithe Spirit
There is nothing like a Dame - especially one playing a Madame. But this isn't a Madame that's selling sex, but connections to the afterlife. And the person bringing her to vivacious life is a stage and screen legend with connections that spread everywhere. She is theatreland's newest theatrical dame Angela Lansbury who was made one in the New Year's Honours List. She was born in London but has been resident for most of her adult life Stateside, since being evacuated as a child... Read more
First aired in the West End 70 years ago, this is probably Noël Coward's most famous play – famously written in less than a week. Regularly revived, it nevertheless strikes me that, like one of its own central characters, this 'light comedy' doesn't know when it has effectively 'passed over'. That's not to say that it's without humour, and as it's the work of a major writer it's of considerable historical significance. But its roots lie in a time when humour was a very different... Read more