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Florians Theatre gets Inverness into the Spirit of Noel Coward with lively and laugh-out-loud adaptation of classic play Blithe Spirit

By Kyle Walker

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Blithe Spirit

The Florians, Inverness


A SPIRITED effort from the Florians have born success once again for the Inverness theatre company – as Noel Coward’s classic farce was brought back to life in style.

Set entirely within the living room of the Condomine household, the room and set design perfectly drew one into the 1940s era in which the play was first written and took place.

The story of Charles Condomine and the ill-fated séance that brings his first wife’s ghost back from the great beyond unfurls slowly and with plenty of Coward’s eloquent and whipcrack witticisms.

As a complete Coward amateur, it was a delight to experience his use of language – the rhythm and cadence of the script skipping with each florid turn of phrase.

And the actors duly sink their teeth into the dialogue, wrapping their mouths eagerly around lines like, “There’s no guarantee that the afterlife is any less exasperating than life.”

The whole cast acquit themselves well in this production. As Charles’ first wife Elvira, Aileen Hendry is spectral and just the right side of hilariously spiteful while still drawing sympathy for her plight.

And Caroline MacPherson is excellent as second wife Ruth, stuck in a situation beyond her control as her husband tries to split the difference between his living and dead wives.

But it’s Trevor Nicol as Charles and Christine Fletcher as the medium Madame Arcati who really stand out. Christine deliberately brings a different energy than everybody else does to her role as the eccentric medium as she steals the ghost’s share of laughs.

And Trevor brings such depth to Charles – exasperated and unnerved at times, insufferable and smug at others, the triumphant spite he wraps around the final lines of the play almost recontextualise the whole production, casting him as the villain and his wives as the victims of his pomposities and piggishness/

By the end of the play – the set scenery collapsing in ghostly anger as Irving Berlin’s Always rings out – it wasn’t just the dead that would be brought back in this production.

Indeed, I could have happily returns for another go around. KW

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