To the Editor
Thursday night I had the good fortune to be an invited guest at the dress rehearsal for the latest Virgin Valley Theatre Group offering of Noel Coward’s sparkling three act comedy, Blithe Spirit. Set in an upper crust English manor home in the 1940s, the period is beautifully evoked by Bret Hardy’s stylish costumes and the gorgeous set designed and constructed by Director Glen Bjorn and his crew. It made one want to slip into one of those smashing lounging ensembles and join in the fun. The dialogue, as dry and witty as the martinis that drive the action forward, is delivered in quite creditable upper-class British accents.
The play opens on the night of a dinner party thrown by Charles and Ruth Condimine. The couple,played by Chad Calmelat and newcomer to the VVGT stage, Shannon Hall, deliver Coward’s signature fast paced lines skillfully and with droll humor. Other dinner guests on this dark and foggy night include the local doctor and his wife, played by Colonel Sanders look-alike Denis Feehan and Miriam Samuels in strong supporting roles. Another newcomer to the stage, Jessica Callan, provides amusing diversions as the over-eager and somewhat rattled maid, Edith.
Late to the party is a mysterious Madame Arcati who has agreed to conduct a séance to variously amuse, confuse and horrify the assembled group. Arcati, athletically performed by veteran actor Teri Nehrenz, fairly chews up the scenery as she conjures up the last guest to materialize, Elvira Condimine, Charles’ first… and late, wife. The blond and beautiful Elvira, delightfully played by Kathy Bussman, mischievously stirs up the plot as Noel Coward explores and gently pokes fun at marital relationships, lasting love and jealously.
Production support was provided by Assistant Director: Dianna McKinney; Construction Crew: Jesse Samuels and Peter Pellico; Seamstresses: Patti Bjornson and Marni Bartolini; Props: Janet Mcdonald, Stage Management: Patti Bjornson; Lights and Sound: Bunny Wiseman and Christopher Finnegan, and Art provided by Erika Marler.
This is a fun and highly entertaining production. Don’t miss it!