by Paula Citron
A cast of veteran Soulpepper actors has transformed Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit into a solid production. Joseph Ziegler, Fiona Reid, Brenda Robins and Nancy Palk lead a strong ensemble.
The play revolves around a novelist who arranges a séance at his home as research for his new book. The séance materializes his dead first wife who plays havoc with his second marriage.
Director Morris Panych has mostly set aside his penchant for visual high jinks to let Coward’s sharp dialogue carry most of the burden. But then, he has actors who can cope with the torrent of wit and the faux-British accents. He lets himself down when he forays into sight gags.
The look of the show is certainly dramatic. Ken MacDonald’s set and Charlotte Dean’s period costumes are shades of black, white and grey which allows the things of the spirit world to be an eye-catching, contrasting red.
Blithe Spirit continues until Dec. 15.
From the Young Centre, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for The New CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.