Arvada Center for the Arts: 1/22 – 2/17
There are so many things that are spot on in director Rod A. Lansberry’s production of Noel Coward’s “Blithe Spirit” one almost hates to mention its few flaws.
Heather Lacy enchants as few can these days. She is ghostly perfection as the apparition of Charles Condomine’s first wife, Elvira. We’re talking "Glam" here in the sense of those gorgeous female superstars of the silver screen in the 1940’s and 50’s. Actually I was flipping back and forth from Marilyn Monroe to Jackie Kennedy. Ms. Lacy’s work is breathtaking. This lady needs to be a permanent fixture on the Denver stage!
Steven Cole Hughes is outstanding in his portrayal of Charles Condomine, a gentleman who is a sort of blasé nonchalant fly caught in the exasperating web spun by wives past and present - astral and earthly. Cole Hughes reading of the part is exceptionally wry and every speck of Coward’s wit is deliciously delivered.
Kate Berry’s acting is flawless! However … she is way too pretty to be cast as Condomine’s second wife, Ruth. Such a lovely woman could never fulfill the horsey aspect of Ruth that would satisfy the disparagingly equine references to her in the text.
Boni McIntyre is hilarious as Edith the maid. Whether racing like a thoroughbred just out of the gate to answer a doorbell or attempting to decelerate this perceived inappropriate hyperactivity to a slow clip-clop McIntyre is a hoot.
Steven Cole Hughes and Heather Lacy
Although Leslie O’Carroll is one of this reviewer’s favorite female actors in town one regrets that she had so little time to create a more internalized portrayal. Ms. O’Carroll stepped in at the last minute when the previously cast actress had to step out due to illness. One admits that her character, Madame Arcati falls into the realm of the eccentric. However… this loud over-the-top portrayal grates more than it amuses.
Chris Campbell is a master of the art of costume design. The entire cast is decked out just as Mr. Coward would have liked. Ms. Lacy’s ghostly gown is of the ethereal quality that could have graced the covers of the era’s leading fashion magazines.
The scenic design is the usual eye-popper created by Brian Mallgrave. With it this fine artist manages two things. First he provides us as audience with the perfect milieu for these rich upper crust Brits in which everything fits perfectly and nothing’s out of place. Secondly as we’re driving home after the play he makes us awfully happy we’re on our way back to homey rooms with a certain degree of chaos in which books about the theatre are literally crawling out of the bookcase and in which there are at least accents of colors of the primary variety.
Jon Olson’s lighting design is celestial. The sound design by Morgan McCauley is divine.
I think you will agree with Mr. Coward and Mr. Lansberry that you can have heaven and hell on earth simultaneously.