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Fairfax's 'Blithe Spirit'

Cappies Review

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Which is the stronger emotion — love or jealousy — powerful enough to bring one back from the dead? Noel Coward’s play "Blithe Spirit," as performed by the F/X players of Fairfax High School, does not so much as answer these questions as raise them as well as a slew of others about the afterlife, relationships, and, well, just plain believing.

Charles and Ruth Condomine, played by Justin Vitalis and Meredith Jones respectively, invite the town physic (Nicky Dhaliwal) over for dinner so that Charles might make some observations for his next book. During Madam Arcati’s séance, however, Charles hears the voice and soon after sees the presence of his first wife, Elvira (Kate Golkow) who died young and suddenly seven years earlier. Though skeptical of Charles at the beginning, Ruth accepts Elivra’s presence as everything the ghost does upsets the Condomine’s life, and all her actions are in the name of love. Unfortunately, when both Elvira and Charles want her to return to her afterlife world, they find it a much more difficult chore than a simple séance with a woman who didn’t really know what she was doing in the first place.

Though the energy lulled at the beginning, it improved throughout the show, peaking at times of arguments, especially those between Charles and Ruth. Vitalis and Jones complimented each other well; their interaction marked often by quick and caustic comments yet other times by words of love, showing each actor’s range. Golkow emphasized Elvira’s ethereal nature and disdain for Ruth through her physicality, gliding around the stage and physically mocking Ruth at every opportunity.

The costumes, realistic and appropriate, were such that the actors could make changes very quickly, helping show time progression. The aesthetically pleasing set was large enough to allow the actors lots of flexibility in their movements. Occasionally this proved slightly detrimental as the microphones only picked up certain areas of the stage, though the actors usually managed to be heard anyway.

Though the play was long, with three acts, the last act had the highest energy and a surprise ending with a very cleverly constructed self-destructing set and a spooky black light effect reminding the audience that somewhere, somebody is always watching you.