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Blithe Spirit By Noel Coward


The smash comedy hit of the London and Broadway stages, this much-revived classic from the playwright of Private Lives offers up fussy, cantakerous novelist Charles Condomine, re-married but haunted (literally) by the ghost of his late first wife, the clever and insistent Elvira who is called up by a visiting "happy medium", one Madame Arcati. As the (worldly and un-) personalities clash, Charles' current wife Ruth is accidentally killed, "passes over", joins Elvira and the two "blithe spirits" haunt the hapless Charles into perpetuity.

Photo Gallery

Blythe Spirit

Photo Christine Sayer

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Cast & Crew

Ruth Condomine   Fiona Agyeman
Edith    Di Addington
Charles Condomine   Andrew Le Clercq
Dr. Bradman Brian Moynihan
Mrs. Bradman Pat Agyeman
Madame Arcati    Maggie Browne
Elvira   Helen Gramberg
Director   Bette Sartore
Stage Manager Gail (Murfi) McGregor
Lighting/Sound Margaret Healy
Special Effects Frank Sartore
Music     Galliano Sommavilla

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Review by Lisa Dennis – Castlemaine Mail, November 15, 2013

“After sell-out shows for their first local performance Trap for a Lonely Man, earlier this year, former Craigieburn theatre group, Cathouse Players has once again delivered in its second offering Blithe Spirit which opened last Friday evening at the Chewton Senior Citizens Hall.

Director Bette Sartore has again assembled a stellar cast and crew to present the whimsical Noel Coward tale and take audiences on a rollicking ride from start to finish.

The play transports us back to the 1930s and summer time in the English countryside at the home of writer Charles Condomine (Andrew Le Clercq) and his second wife Ruth (Fiona Agyeman).

Seeking material for his next work, Charles has organised a séance with eccentric psychic Madame Arcati and invites friends Dr and Mrs Bradman (played by Brian Moynihan and Pat Agyeman) along for what he expects will be an entertaining evening.

The charming characters, including hilarious bustling maid-in-training Edith (Di Addington), draw the audience into the storyline from the outset setting the scene for what is to come.

When the effervescent Madame Arcati (Maggie Browne) bursts onto the stage the tale steps up a notch and the laughs begin and seemingly do not end until the final curtain falls.

Maggie Browne is fabulous as Madame Arcati delivering chuckle after chuckle, whilst Andrew Le Clercq and Fiona Agyeman, who carry the bulk of the storyline on their shoulders, do not fail to impress. Helen Gramberg is wonderful as the cheeky 'blithe spirit' Elvira floating about the stage and getting up to endless mischief.

The absorbing play has shocks, thrills and twists thrown in with quite a few special effects.

The three-act play is quite long with two intervals but the intimate venue, pace of the show, seamless set changes, and musical interludes by pianist Galliano Sommavilla (who cleverly looks as though he is part of the scene), keep the audience absorbed for the entire ride.

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Review by Phil & Debbie Hall - Chewton Chat – December 2013

“Blithe Spirit” by Noel Coward is a classic play, once again executed excellently by the Cathouse Players at the Chewton Community and Senior Citizens Centre. One of the things about Chewton for us is how great it is that we can walk across the road to experience quality performance art. This kind of activity maintains the reputation of the early goldfields for performance art including the likes of Lola Montez, and more recently, our very own Stan Munro.

All aspects of this production were both of a passionate and professional quality, and one which generated sense of community warmth, that epitomises our heritage and enhances life in Chewton. From the very first sherry upon arrival to the final ovation at the end, the Cathouse players in all areas worked as a team to produce the best theatrical experience they could for us.

The only criticism heard on the night or provided by us, relate to the seating which does not enable the viewer to see all of the action. Coupled with the effects of a certain discomfort over time, some were led to believe that the play was just a little too long for the amenities provided to cope with in comfort. This is an issue which I hope our community can make provision for eventually. The Cathouse players have used these facilities in the most resourceful way they can, it is our responsibility to improve our assets in order to make the most of our potential for attracting and hosting the arts.

The report from the Cathouse players below indicates their enthusiasm and ongoing commitment to Chewton: “It was a huge success with all six shows booked out and we had to put an extra row in for two of the shows. Everyone is looking forward to the next show 'Deathtrap' by Ira Levin in May 2014.”

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Letter to Castlemaine Mail, 15 Nov 2013

“My congratulations to all associated with the Cathouse Players' great production of Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit at Chewton last weekend.

What a way to be welcomed back to live theatre after a six year absence. It was totally entertaining from start to finish.

From the wonderful meal at the Red Hill Hotel (thank you Diane) to the welcoming drinks and hors d'oeuvres we received at the theatre, right through to tea and coffee during the intervals, we felt like we were treated like kings.

 Thank you so much for allowing us to be a part of the live theatre experience. We are looking forward to next year's performance. No wonder it's always a sell-out!

Paul Reed Castlemaine

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