With over 3,000 performances worldwide since having opened in November 1941 and having been the longest running show in West End history, it is not difficult to judge that audiences adore the play "Blithe Spirit." Written by famous British playwright Noel Coward, the tale of what ensues when a wealthy writer recalls the spirit of his deceased first wife, is a tale filled with sarcastic humor and knee-slapping laughs all around.
Through convincing characterization, and aesthetically relevant set, light, and sound design, Fairfax High School's production of "Blithe Spirit" fulfilled nearly all elements that have made the play so popular throughout the years.
In the first act, the audience is introduced to Charles Condomine (played by Theo Contes), who seems to want to have his cake and eat it too. By calling back the spirit of his deceased wife, Elvira (played by Brittany Bustle), he inadvertently causes ripples in his relationship with his current wife, Ruth (played by Liz Perash). All of the drama is caused and witnessed by the eccentric, and unconventional medium named Madame Arcati (played by Maddie Goubeux). All of the actors did an especially excellent job of making sure that they had fully developed and interesting characters. Goubeux's choice of dialect for Madame Arcati was especially noteworthy and added an element of mystery to the character, while Bustle's ghostly appearance and stature, made it feel as though she really were from another world beyond our own.
The technical elements of the show are also to be commended. The light design was perfectly executed, from the change of lights to represent night and morning, to the flashing lights to represent that something paranormal was about the happen in the story. The set design also added to the overall aesthetic, from the bright and brilliantly colored paintings on the walls, to the attention to the detail of the knickknacks on the mantle piece, set designers, T.J. O'Brien and Gary Kochetcov, deserve major kudos for their accomplishments. With only minor sound glitches in the first act, the technical designers of "Blithe Spirit" did an excellent job.
It is difficult to put on a production of a show that so many people are familiar with and love, but Fairfax High School managed to combine humor, love, sadness, and a little bit of crazy, to create this well-done production of "Blithe Spirit."
Cappies is a high school critics and awards program involving 50 schools in the Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. areas.