Paul Johnson | 09 Sep 2011 16:25pm
I must admit my ‘worry radar’ went up even before stepping into Theatre 62’s intimate auditorium. When you are warned “It’s not one of the best shows we’ve ever put on” by the Box Office phone service then you tend to fear the worst. As it turned out my exclusively delivered preview of the West Wickham society’s autumn offering was not far off the mark, and is one production Theatre 62 may decide to file away pretty swiftly. Noel Coward’s popular ghostly tale tells of Charles Condomine – now married to his second wife, Ruth – as he unwittingly summons up the ghost of his first wife, Elvira with the help of eccentric medium, Madame Arcati during a tongue-in-cheek dinner-party séance. There is much comedy to be had with Condomine being the only person able to see and hear Elvira’s spritely and rather naughty behaviour with a myriad of miss-interpreted rebukes and cross-conversations. With seven scenes and two intervals, this is not a short play so the characterisations have to be spot-on, well-formed and interesting to keep the audience alive – otherwise this play can very easily start to get a little monotonous. Brian John, amazingly in his third production of ‘Blythe Spirit’ in the role of Charles Condomine, did not have a good night, which is a shame for the rest of the cast (not to mention the audience). This character drives the pace throughout and is pivotal to the success of the evening’s entertainment. What we were served up was a constant string of prompts and painfully delivered stilted scenes featuring the aforementioned quick-fire cross-conversations involving Condomine, Elvira and second wife, Ruth. Carolyn Taylor as Madame Arcati and Pat Adams as the ghost of Elvira did their best to bring some experienced stability to the sinking ship and Janet Sharrock as Ruth Condomine also deserves mention. Adrian Pope’s set design was also nicely done. However, seven acts of listening to brave prompt, Janet Clark’s interjections made the pouring rain outside a welcome relief come 11pm.
- : admin
- : 07/10/2009