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Theatre Review (Singapore): ‘Blithe Spirit’ by Noel Coward

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bs 222The Stage Club’s latest production was Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit, which ran at the DBS Arts Centre October 23-26, 2013.

Blithe Spirit tells the tale of Charles (Oliver Black) and Ruth Condomine (Varshini P), a married couple who were earlier married to other people. Ruth and her friend Mrs Bradman (Angela Barolsky) have an interest in Madame Arcati (Malti Lalwani) and her supernatural abilities to contact the dead. So they invite her to a party to impress them with her skills. However, things go very wrong when Arcati brings back the spirit of Charles’ dead first wife Elvira (Emilie Oehlers).

Directed by Susan Penrice Tyrie, this entertaining Noel Coward play isn’t a laugh riot, but more of a rom-com, with an emphasis on the romantic. Tyrie made good use of the space, with eerie green lighting accompanying the ghostly Elvira’s entrances.

bsBlack and Varshini made a believable (although slightly unemotional) couple, but the standout was Lalwani, who effortlessly delivered her lines with the appropriate punch, giving a very natural and nuanced performance. Barolsky also shone as always, albeit it in a very small part this time around, playing her giddy Mrs Bradman with tremendous ease.

Oehlers though seemed to have a problem with enunciation, such that at a few points one could not understand her words at all, which was a shame as she portrayed the dead wife Elvira with cute playfulness, which contrasted nicely with the upper-crust air of Charles and his second wife Ruth.

Overall the production was entertaining and it still surprises me that a company that relies on amateur volunteers can put out such high quality work again and again. It makes me excited thinking of what The Stage Club has next in store for us!

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About Sharmila Melissa Yogalingam

Ex-professor, Ex-phd student, current freelance critic, writer and filmmaker.