Loved it especially Robert Bathhust: so cool and elegant. Hermione Norris's accent didn't seem posh enough and Ruthie Henshaw was simply not at all ethereal . I loved Alison Steadman's Madame Arcati really funny! Great entertainment - M on
15 Apr 11
Thea Sharrock's production of Blithe Spirit provides some excellent comic set pieces but it feels episodic and lacks narrative fluency. Part of the problem is that she has allowed Alison Steadman to come up with a self-indulgent Madame Arcati, a bit like Margaret Rutherford with Tourrette's. This means that you are waiting for her to be exposed as a charlatan but of course Coward provides a different ending. Steadman's is not the only slightly off-kilter performance: Hermione Norris is nowhere near posh enough and Ruthie Henshall, although charmingly mischievous as Elvira, spends much of her time with a weird rictus grin. It's almost impossible for Blithe Spirit not to be a crowd pleaser and the Apollo was packed for Thursday's matinee, but the high point was Hildegard Bechtler's elegant and explosive set design. - David Baxter
09 Apr 11
Blithe Spirit has a subtle subtext about women and wifes and their relationship with each other and men that isn't misogynist, as a reviewer as suggested, but based in truth. However, often it's played as am dram farce. I was hoping that
Thea Sharrock would focus on the nuances and ignore the farce. Unfortunately she didn't. Alison Steadman's very OTT Madame Arcati reinforces the farcical element and is disappointing. Again I was expecting greater things from this great actress. Ruthie Henshall is very one note as Elvira. However, Robert Bathurst and Hermione Norris make the play worth seeing. Norris particularly is excellent as Ruth bringing sharp comic timing and exasperated elegance to Ruth.
The set looks lovely but means the play is confined.
It's an entertaining evening but there is so much talent here that I expected much more. - Suzi Packer
13 Mar 11
Very enjoyablw with a good cast and all do well though my favorite were Ruthie Henshall and Robert Bathurst. Alison Steadman is good as Madama Arcati but no patch to Marcia Warren who played the part some years back and was superb. Nevertheless lovely set and as all Noel Coward plays was sophisticated and Deco and just a pleasure. - Joe Spiteri
11 Mar 11
alsion steadman does add to the role and is fantastic, as is robert bathurst. hermione norris is disappointing and doesnt seem to have found her feet in this role at all. ruthie henshall is dire, having seen this production a couple of times i am still wondering why she is in it.the set is fantastic, the maid is great.its a good show, but you find yourself waiting for alison steadman, robert bathurst or the maid to move it on. - robin
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