Production 53 Blithe Spirit

Blithe SpiritBy Noël Coward

Performed on Thu 14th to Sat 16th November 1968 at The Astor Theatre
In aid of The Deal & Sandwich Guide Dogs for the Blind Association

 

 

The Cast

The Cast

Edith (a maid) Molly Boyce
Ruth Doris Cohen
Charles Tony Kilshawe
Dr. Bradman Alex Thomson
Mrs. Bradman Zena Almond
Madame Arcati Dorothy Whitelock
Elvira Glenys Cresswell

Cast of Blithe Spirit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Previews/Reviews

Previews/Reviews

Blithe Spirit

Success for The Guild Players

A Amateur dramatic groups all over the country love to present Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit. It has that light-hearted degree of improbability that, if well done, never fails to refresh an audience. The production of The Guild Players, in aid of The Guide Dogs for The Blind Association, at The Astor Theatre, Deal, brought the warmth of summer to a succession of winter-chilled audiences. Success rests pretty fairly with Tony Kilshawe, who produced and played the lead. The Spirit scenes were well done and one could imagine gusts of cold air when the ghosts were walking. Dorothy Whitelock made a fine Madame Arcati with a great deal of verve. Tony Kilshawe and Doris Cohen gave delightful performances to enhance their already considerable reputations, and Alex Thomson and Zena Almond were both more than competent in roles which gave them little opportunity. Glenys Cresswell was happily cast as Elvira, surely one of the nicest of theatrical ghosts. She added an ethereal charm to the play, and won the hears of the audiences despite her mischievousness. And Molly Boyce was competent as a comic maid. I wait The Guild Players New Year offering, the fantasy Beauty and the Beast.

Tony Arnold

Cast of Blithe Spirit

They had the Spirit Needed

That favourite subject of local drama groups – the farce – received a new lift last week. Playgoers who were expecting another belt of the usual dry wit must have been pleasantly surprised; for although the Noël Coward play performed by The Guild Players at Deal’s Astor Theatre showed there may not be a wind of change for this subject, they put a bit of spirit into it. When Noël Coward set pen to paper for Blithe Spirit the one thing he must have had in mind was not to write a play full of puns and wit to hurl at the audience non-stop from the first curtain. So unless the play was really acted well to maintain a high entertainment value, the production could become slow moving. But The Guild Players seemed aware of the pitfalls. While there were scenes that were packed with quick-witted conversation that could be spoily with one pause for a prompt, there were also scenes that required no more than straight acting, But The Guild Players did their utmost to keep entertaining. It was evident that they did not reach their peak until the first scene was over. This was the setting in a home before dinner. Charles, played by Tony Kilshawe, is a writer and wants first-hand experience of dealing with the occult. So he invites Madame Arcati, a local medium, played by Dorothy Whitelock, for dinner. After dinner the medium tries her skills. The result was a scream! I’m sure that the way the Players handled this produced more laughs than perhaps was originally intended. Perhaps Madame Arcati was over‑acted, but at least she created the impression of an off-beat eccentric old medium who relies upon one or two tricks of the trade. In the dinner party is Dr. Bradman, played by Alex Thomson and his wife, played by Zena Almond. Excellent handling of lights produced an eerie glow over the stage. Then bang. All of a sudden Madame Arcati disappears from view - Oh no, not one of the now-you-see-me, now-you-don’t acts. She hit the deck with such force I wondered for a minute if she had passed out under the heat of the green lights, had a heart attack or just hypnotised herself. But not to worry, Dr. Bradman was at hand. From then on the play builds itself up in a mad hilarious tangle. Poor Charles. His wife who died seven years ago returns, but is only visible to him. So when he talks to the ghost of Elvira, a cold performance given by Glenys Cresswell, his very much alive wife thinks he is talking to her. Then she thinks she has a mad husband. Some dilemma! But it becomes even more involved. It all boils down to a plot by Elvira to bring her husband to her side, first of all greasy banisters then a fixed car. Charles’ wife Ruth, played by Doris Cohen, finally can stand it no longer and drives to see the vicar. Elvira had fixed the brakes thinking Charles would drive. Doris Cohen threw herself into her part after the first act and was well cast. Madame Arcati returns to send back Elvira, but a psychic maid played by Molly Boyce turns out to have the secret of it all.

Production Team

Production Team

Director Tony Kilshawe
Front of House Bert Bradshaw & Reuben Atkinson
Stage Director Norman Smith
Stage Managers Brenda Smith, Clare Bradshaw & Bernadette Baugh
Lighting & Effects Arthur Laffar & Colin Taverner
Special Costumes Mollie Fitzgerald
Wardrobe & Make-up Supervisor Joyce Jewson
Scenery & Décor Guild Players Members
Gift Stall Dorrie Sherwin

Cast of Blithe Spirit