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Hail to thee, Blithe Spirit!

The Grange production of Blithe Spirit, Noel Coward’s supernatural farce, proved to be an intriguing melodrama full of laugh out loud moments, shot through with flashes of neck-prickling creepiness.

The play begins as novelist Charles Condomine invites his aristocratic friends for a light-hearted séance which backfires when Charles’ first wife, Elvira, unexpectedly materialises from the spirit world; a scenario that turns into a nightmare for all concerned as Charles finds himself stuck in a love triangle between Elvira and his second wife - the prim and proper Ruth.

Everything about the production, from acting to set design, had a professional feel to it. Jamie Banks, playing the role of Charles Condomine, brought out his character’s internal conflicts and exasperations beautifully; Lizzie Blakeman’s unravelling of the tightly wound Ruth Condomine was expert; Tom Cowell and Grace McKenna played Doctor Bradman and Mrs Bradman with just the right level of aristocratic incredulousness. Mia Robinson was ever-so innocent as Edith, the maid; and Kirsty Nolan was fabulous at bringing out the indolent vivaciousness of Elvira’s character. Last but not least, what can be said about Haydn Cawley as Madam Arcati? Haydn attacked the role with gusto, going for and duly receiving the laughs, but never at the expense of character – to Madam Arcati, after all, it’s all a very serious business!

We should not forget the many people who worked on making the set of a professional standard; the backstage crew who made everything appear seamless; the many willing volunteers who served interval refreshments; and, of course, Mrs Bloor and Mrs Sunners who stitched everything together into something, not only coherent, but altogether wonderful.