Review: Blithe Spirit at Milton Keynes Theatre

PUBLISHED: 12:14 15 February 2011 | UPDATED: 18:52 20 February 2013

Robert Bathurst and Hermione Norris as Charles and Ruth

Robert Bathurst and Hermione Norris as Charles and Ruth

Reviewer Clare Bourke attends the opening night for Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit at Milton Keynes Theatre.


Noel Cowards Blithe Spirit, Milton Keynes Theatre

February 15 to 19, 2011

By Clare Bourke

Undoubtedly the best known version of Cowards classic is David Leans 1945 film starring Margaret Rutherford and Rex Harrison, and this latest stage adaptation will certainly delight fans of the film.

Director Thea Sharrock was off to a flying start before the curtain even went up thanks to the fabulous casting of Alison Steadman, Hermione Norris, Robert Bathurst and Ruthie Henshall in the lead roles.

Seasoned professionals all, they could hardly fail to raise the roof with this adaptation that really brings Cowards play to life.

Novelist Charles Condomine and his second wife Ruth are haunted by a past relationship when an eccentric medium conjures up the ghost of Charless neurotic first wife, Elvira, at a sance.

They had assumed Madame Arcati was a fraud and chose her to entertain their dinner guests until Elvira suddenly appears, visible only to Charles and determined to sabotage his current marriage, life - and the afterlife.

The film is one of my favourites but seeing Blithe Spirit in the theatre for the first time made me realise this play is even better when it is performed where it should be on the stage.

Alison Steadman, much-loved by viewers of the ever-popular Gavin and Stacey series, showed her great versatility and comic timing in the role of Madame Arcati while Hermione Norris left Spooks behind her and was faultless as the rather cool Ruth.

Robert Bathurst, most recently seen starring as John Le Mesurier in television drama Hattie, turned out to be the perfect choice as Charles while star of the musicals Ruthie Henshall fell perfectly into the role of the mischievous Elvira.

With an excellent set, a brilliant cast of characters and an absolute blast of a script, there really was nothing to find fault with. A great show for all Coward fans.

  • The show runs until February 19. For tickets call the box office on 0844 871 7652 or book online at

Milton Keynes Theatre, 500 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire MK9 3NZ

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