Blithe Spirit

written by

Noel Coward

directed by

Louise Kerry

performed at

The Colour House

July 1998

Blithe Spirit Poster

One man, two wives and a psychic. Charles Condomine finds himself tangled in a web of spirits, seances and sophistry after a surprise visit from his deceased ex-wife Elvira. Things take an unexpected turn and suddenly it's one man, two ghosts and a psychic.

bullet - blithe_bullet.jpg

Noel Coward and Blithe Spirit

About The Playwright and Play

Noel Coward was the second of three sons born to Violet and Arthur Coward of Teddington, Middlesex. He began his professional acting career in 1911 as Prince Mussel in The Goldfish. In the next few years he produced, wrote or starred in I'll Leave It To You, The Young Idea, The Vortex, Hayfever and Easy Virtue. In 1927 he composed the famous song A Room With A View.

Two years later he directed the West End production of Bitter Sweet which he wrote and the following year produced Private Lives on stage. This play was filmed in 1931. In 1933 his play Design for Living was produced.

He wrote Blithe Spirit in five days in 1941 and it opened within six weeks. It went on to have one of the longest runs in British theatre. He wrote afterwards:

"I shall always be grateful for this almost psychic gift that enabled me to write Blithe Spirit in five days during one of the darkest years of the war. It was not meticulously constructed in advance and only one day elapsed between its original conception and the moment. I sat down to write it. It fell into my mind and onto the manuscript."

Critics said he never again equalled Blithe Spirit. When Blithe Spirit was on stage he wrote

"Had a few drinks, then went to The Savoy, pretty bad blitz... a couple of bombs fell very near during dinner and the door fell in. Orchestra went on playing... I sang... on the whole, a very strange and amusing evening"

In 1942 he appeared in the play as Charles Condomine, and in 1944 the play was filmed. In 1944 he wrote the screenplay for Brief Encounter.

Throughout the forties, fifties and early sixties his productions - like Peace in Our Time, Ace of Clubs, Nude With Violin and Waiting in the Wings - graced the London stage. In 1966 he appeared for the last time in the West End in Suite In Three Keys.

He was knighted in 1970, just three years before he died. Towards the end of his life he wrote "Really, my life has been one long extravaganza"

Louise Kerry, Director

back to top - back to Productions

bullet - blithe_bullet.jpg

The Cast

Edith (a maid) ~ Joanne Crabtree
Ruth ~ Ruth Brooks
Charles ~ John Gargrave
Dr. Bradman ~ Jeff Graves
Mrs. Bradman ~ Rosemary Hunt
Madame Arcarti ~ Philippa Booth
Elvira ~ Liza Allison

back to top - back to Productions

bullet - blithe_bullet.jpg

The Crew

Director ~ Louise Kerry
Stage manager ~ Charles Bertram
Lighting Design ~ Georgina Gunn
Sound design ~ Chris Lee-Delisle
Set design ~ Mike Tierny
Publicity ~ Joanne Crabtree
Front of House ~ Penny Stone and friends
Artwork ~ Louise Kerry and Pippa Booth
Webpage ~ Simon Harris, update by Matthew Petty

back to top - back to Productions

bullet - blithe_bullet.jpg


click for a larger version

Photo - bl1

Elvira (Liza Allison), Dr Bradman (Jeff Graves), Ruth (Ruth Brooks) and Charles (John Gargrave)

Photo - bl4

Edith, the Maid (Joanne Crabtree)

Photo - bl5

Dr Bradman (Jeff Graves) and Madame Arcarti (Pippa Booth)

Photo - bl3

Elvira (Lisa Allison), Charles (John Gargrave) and Ruth (Ruth Brooks) - Yes, Elvira is supposed to be that ghostly colour!

Photo - bl2

The Stage Manager (Charles Bertram) in the Carlton's traditional low-visibility backstage dress.

back to top - back to Productions

valid XHTML - click to check | valid css - click to check