The real assets of the production are the cast, for while Blithe Spirit is farce, it wants swift, delicate understatement rather than in-your-face buffoonery. And, mostly, that's what it gets. Sandra Birch as Madame Arcati (the medium) is the only one who plays her part a bit too broadly I would argue that her success in actually conjuring two spirits suggests that the character is really a consummate professional rather than an off-the-charts lunatic (the interpretation Birch favors). Yet, for all that, she's fun: let's just say that this theater is a bit too small for her. The rest do a great job of effortlessly keeping the dialogue aloft. Special treats are Terry Heck, who sports a particularly elaborate Scottish accent, and Malcolm Tulip, a gifted physical actor who reins it all in to play a part defined by word calisthenics and is rewarded with a great moment of physical comedy at the end.
Blithe Spirit continues its summer run, Wednesday through Sunday, through August 30.
[Originally published in August, 2003.]
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