Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.

Blithe Spirit

Julie-Ann Elliott, Paul DeBoy,
and Kate Goehring

Olney Theatre Center winds up its two-part Noel Coward Celebration with their presentation of Blithe Spirit. This ghostly comedy shows the repercussions when one plays with the spirit world. Although the results are a bit chaotic, they are also very humorous.

The play focuses on a widowed writer named Charles Condomine. Condomine and his second wife Ruth make quite a sophisticated couple. While doing research for a new book, Charles invites a medium to visit their home and show off her talent for speaking with the dead. In an unfortunate twist, Charles' first wife Elvira appears. There is only one problem —she refuses to leave.

OTC has done an excellent job with this production. Everything from casting to set design is right on the mark. John Going's direction is fluid, and the whole cast works extremely well together. Paul DeBoy (Charles) is the picture of urbanity. Kate Goehring (Elvira) is the perfect foil for the flustered widower and Julie-Ann Elliott's Ruth manages to portray refinement even when losing her cool. Associate Artistic Director Halo Wines plays the spiritual medium Madame Arcati. Ms. Wine sinks her teeth into this role and garners some of the biggest laughs.

Coward's writing stands on its own. His script is extremely witty and, as was his custom, dripping with sophistication.

James Wolk's set design is quite lovely. The elegant sitting room is inviting and the actors use the space well. The lighting design by Robert Jared is used for special effects and intensifies a number of important moments. Additionally, Howard Tsvi Kaplan's costumes are not only pleasing to the eye, but they are perfectly suited for the piece.

Blithe Spirit may be a bit dated for some. However, those who appreciate Noel Coward's genius will be pleased with this enjoyable production. Blithe Spirit runs through November 7th.

The Olney Theatre Center
Blithe Spirit
October 6th —November 7th
By Noel Coward
Directed by John Going
2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road
Olney, MD 20832
Tickets: 301-924-3400 or

Cast List

Edith: Tara Giordano
Ruth: Julie-Ann Elliott
Charles: Paul DeBoy
Dr. Bradman: James Slaughter
Mrs. Bradman: Rena Cherry Brown
Madame Arcati: Halo Wines
Elvira: Kate Goehring

Photo: Stan Barouh

-- Tracy Lyon

Also see the Current Theatre Season Calendar for D.C.

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