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Sharrock Revisits Blithe at Bath with Steadman

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Alison Steadman will play Madame Arcati in a new production of Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit, directed by Thea Sharrock at the Bath Theatre Royal, which will transfer to the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, from 2 March 2011.

Sharrock, currently enjoying acclaim for her revival of Coward contemporary Terence Rattigan's After the Dance, previously directed Blithe Spirit in 2004, a production which also started life in Bath before transferring to the West End.

According to the Daily Mail, the new revival will be produced by Danny Moar and go on a short regional tour between Bath and its West End dates.

Coward wrote Blithe Spirit in just seven days, while staying at Portmeirion in 1941, after his London office and apartment had been destroyed in the Blitz. He felt the public needed something fun and escapist during the darkest days of the war. It opened in the West End just two months later and became a box office hit. The 1945 film starred Rex Harrison and Margaret Rutherford.

In the comedy, Charles Condomine and his second wife Ruth hold a séance so that he can learn the tricks of the trade as research for his new novel. What begins as after-dinner entertainment becomes a life-changing experience when the eccentric medium Madame Arcati inadvertently conjures up the ghost of Charles’ first wife Elvira, who’s determined to win him back.

Alison Steadman, whose most famous stage credits include creating the role of Beverly in Abigail’s Party and The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (for which she won an Olivier), was most recently seen in the West End last year in Alan Bennett's Enjoy. Her many screen credits include Shirley Valentine, Life Is Sweet, Topsy Turvy, Fat Friends, Fanny Hill and Gavin and Stacey.


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