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Marquette Theatre’s Otherworldly Farce

‘Blithe Spirit’ is a sprightly, spooky comedy

Oct. 4, 2016
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A play about ghostly mischief is filled with opportunity for theater magic, an opportunity which Marquette Theatre seizes in their production of Blithe Spirit. The sumptuous set designed by Stephen Hudson-Mairet hides many delightful booby traps which are a joy to watch play out to the terror and humor of the house’s inhabitants.


Charles Condomine, (played by the elastic-faced Michael Young), a novelist looking to use the village psychic as fodder for his next book, arranges a séance in his home with the full expectation that the medium will be a crackpot and the evening a fake. He and his current wife receive quite a surprise when their playful mucking about in the spirit world rustles up the ghost of Charles’ first wife, Elvira (Annie Kefalas), and they are saddled with a physically deceased, though physically attractive, house guest.


The ensemble makes a strong go at the fast-paced tennis match of Noël Coward’s dialogue, rewarding the audience with many well-earned moments of laughter. Aileen O’Carroll is particularly adept at finding the button on the comedic moments with her hilarious portrayal of the Condomines’ maid, Edith. The pace of the play itself seems to parallel Edith’s search for balance between slow and steady versus a full-tilt gallop.


While the battle of wits engaged in during the first half begins to lag, the first entrance of the ghost provides a welcome injection of shivery, zany energy into the plot. The ensemble hits their stride at the top of the second act, and the production rounds out with fully-realized texture, helped along by the pleasant bustle of several choreographed scene changes and the charming sound design from Nick Parrott.


Blithe Spirit is an enjoyable celebration of wordplay and theatricality, and the time spent with the characters culminates in a finale of supernatural hilarity.


Through October 9 at Marquettes Helfaer Theatre, 525 N. 13th Street. For tickets, call (414) 288-7504 or visit showclix.com/event/blithe-spirit


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